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General Motors is teaming up with LG Chem to mass-produce battery cells for future electric vehicles and is throwing $2.3 billion toward the effort.
GM and LG Chem said they will create a new joint venture company to take advantage of the slow but steady march toward all-electric vehicles.
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A new battery cell plant will create 1,100 jobs
The companies will open a new battery cell assembly plant in Northeast Ohio that will create more than 1,100 jobs. The plant will be located near the Lordstown assembly plant GM announced last year it would close. The last Chevrolet Cruze rolled off the production line in March. GM sold the plant to Lordstown Motors, which is developing an electric pickup.
“With this investment, Ohio and its highly capable workforce will play a key role in our journey toward a world with zero emissions,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra in a press release announcing the initiative. “Combining our manufacturing expertise with LG Chem’s leading battery-cell technology will help accelerate our pursuit of an all-electric future. We look forward to collaborating with LG Chem on future cell technologies that will continue to improve the value we deliver to our customers.”
GM and LG Chem said the plant will use the most advanced manufacturing processes available, aiming to produce battery cells with little in the way of waste. The plant will be flexible enough to adapt as more advances in technology and materials come to the fore. The two companies plan to begin construction of the plant in the middle of 2020.
Everyone on board with EVs
“Our joint venture with the No. 1 American automaker will further prepare us for the anticipated growth of the North American EV market, while giving us insights into the broader EV ecosystem,” LG Chem Vice Chairman & CEO Hak-Cheol Shin said in the release.
The move on the part of GM is just the latest example of how vehicle manufacturers are going after the electric vehicle market, which is still in its infancy. Tesla dominates right now, but a bevy of carmakers including GM, Ford, and BMW are entering the market in bigger ways. GM has a stated goal of producing twenty all-electric models by 2023. GM's sole electric vehicle is the Chevrolet Bolt EV, but up next is an all-electric Cadillac.