Stellantis, LG Energy Solution joint venture NextStar Energy selects CEO
The joint venture between Jeep maker Stellantis NV and LG Energy Solution that's building an electric-vehicle battery plant in Windsor, Ontario, will be called NextStar Energy, the companies said on Thursday.
The CEO leading the partnership, which remains subject to regulatory approvals, is Danies Lee, a sales and marketing veteran with the LG side of the business.
NextStar Energy is a part of a larger trend in the industry of automakers vertically integrating the manufacturing of major components of EVs. Doing so offers greater control of batteries, which are key to the performance of EVs. That performance can be an important differentiator for brands.
NextStar's $4.1 billion plant in Windsor will offer 45 gigawatt hours of annual capacity to supply the high-voltage batteries to plug-in hybrids and EVs assembled in North America. It expects to begin construction later this year, though the city must expropriate a residential parcel to build the plant. Production is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2024, and the plant will create 2,500 jobs.
Stellantis is investing $35.5 billion into electrification and software by 2025. It says it will have 25 all-electric vehicles by 2030 when it predicts more than 50% of sales will be EVs.
Lee most recently oversaw the sales and program management of EV battery programs for North America with LG Energy Solution. He joined the company in 2001 when it was LG Chem. He held a series of global and regional sales and marketing roles to promote lithium-ion technology. Lee led U.S. sales and was based in San Jose, California, from 2015 to 2018. He will move to Windsor in the coming months.
Lee holds a master’s degree in International Studies from Korea University and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University.
“I am extremely humbled by this appointment," Lee said in a statement, "and look forward to putting in place the senior leadership team of NextStar Energy who will help me achieve our vision of producing leading-edge lithium-ion battery cells and modules to meet a significant portion of Stellantis’ vehicle production requirements in North America."
Stellantis on Thursday also announced it has secured a supply of lithium hydroxide for North American battery production.