GM, LG to build Tennessee battery plant

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Detroit — General Motors Co. and its partner LG Energy Solution are building another battery cell manufacturing plant in the United States, the companies said Friday at an event in Tennessee, where the second plant will be located.

Ultium Cells LLC, the joint venture between the two, will invest more than $2.3 billion to build the second battery cell manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, where GM already operates an assembly plant that it's converting to build electric vehicles. 

To watch:GM announces battery cell manufacturing plant

GM is planning to put 1 million EVs on the road by 2025 and offer a zero-emissions lineup by 2035. To get there it will need more battery cells. 

“The addition of our second all-new Ultium battery cell plant in the U.S. with our joint venture partner LG Energy Solution is another major step in our transition to an all-electric future,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement.

A first battery cell plant is under construction in Northeast Ohio. It's slated for completion by the first quarter of 2022. 

Construction on the 2.8 million-square-foot Tennessee plant will start immediately, the companies said. Ultium Cells expects to open the facility in late 2023. The second plant will supply battery cells to GM’s Spring Hill assembly plant where the Cadillac Lyriq, an electric crossover, will be built, along with other EVs. 

The cells made at both plants use GM's proprietary Ultium battery technology. GM claims its Ultium batteries are unique to the industry because the large-format pouch style cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack, allowing designers to optimize battery storage and layout for each vehicle's design. 

The Ultium battery energy has range options from 50-200 kWh, which GM estimates will provide a range of up to 400 miles or more on a full charge. 

The Tennessee battery cell plant will create 1,300 new jobs.

In a statement the United Auto Workers said: "These are important jobs and we continue to work with General Motors on the transition to electric vehicles. We believe that GM has a moral obligation to work with the UAW and the joint venture partner to make sure these are good paying union jobs like those of their brothers and sisters who make internal combustion engines.”

Barra added the state's support "was an important factor in making this investment in Spring Hill possible and this type of support will be critical moving forward as we continue to take steps to transition our manufacturing footprint to support EV production.”

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