GM and LG announce another $2.3 billion EV battery plant
General Motors and LG plan to build a new $2.3 billion plant to build batteries for electric vehicles, a key step toward the US automaker’s goal of an all-electric future.
The new plant, GM’s second EV battery operation with LG, will be adjacent to the automaker’s Spring Hill assembly plant in Tennessee, where it announced last fall a $2 billion investment to build electric vehicles.
GM has announced plans to sell only emissions-free cars by 2035.
The two companies already have another EV battery plant under construction in Lordstown, Ohio, which was announced in 2019 and is set to open next year. The new Tennessee plant is expected to open in late 2023 and employ 1,300 workers, said GM CEO Mary Barra.
The Spring Hill investment and the battery plants “demonstrate we’re committed to changing the world right now,” said Barra. “A fundamental shift in transportation is taking place and General Motors will lead the way. We’re seeing growing enthusiasm from all corners.”
Virtually all automakers are ramping up production plans for electric vehicles, both to meet increasingly tougher environmental regulations as well as increasing demand among car buyers. Electric cars have fewer moving parts than gas-powered vehicles, and therefore can be cheaper to build because they require less labor.
But there is a looming shortage of the batteries needed to power the cars. The lack of inventory could put upward pressure on battery prices, and keep the cost of EVs higher than traditional gasoline cars.
“We’re working to make sure we have adequate supply [of batteries] all the way from the mines,” Barra told investors in February when discussing GM results. “It’s one of the reasons why we’re investing in our own [battery] cell manufacturer …. We want to be in control of our own destiny … making sure we have the ability to have the cells that we need.”
But all automakers are scrambling to find the supply of batteries they’ll need for their EV plans. Even with its own battery plant in Nevada that has been up and running for years, electric car leader Tesla said it needs more batteries from suppliers. It also said that a lack of batteries is the reason it has yet to come out with an electric semi-tractor truck, which will need five times as many batteries as a typical EV.