After failing to reach an agreement on specifics for the fourth plant, General Motors and LG Energy Solution have tentatively abandoned plans to build a battery cell plant together in the U.S. as part of their joint venture Ultium Cells LLC.
According to GM spokesperson Dan Flores, “We are completely committed to building the fourth battery cell factory in the U.S., but we won’t comment on the current rumors.” Flores asserts, GM is still on schedule to have the production capacity to produce one million electric vehicles by the end of 2025.
However, GM faces a dilemma. Few battery cell producers the size of LG can assist GM in achieving its objectives to introduce 30 new EVs by the end of 2025 and be a zero-emissions automaker by 2035.
Due to the importance of battery cells, GM would not choose to partner with a startup. Given that SK International is affiliated with Ford Motor, it probably won’t pursue that company. This leaves Panasonic and Samsung SDI as potential suppliers of Tesla batteries.
However, Ultium Cells was founded in 2019 by GM and LG. Its first of four American factories, which was constructed in Warren, Ohio, began operating this year. In addition, Ultium is investing $2.3 billion in the construction of a facility close to GM’s Spring Hill Assembly facility, where GM assembles the Cadillac Lyriq EV.
In late 2023, that battery cell factory will debut. Additionally, Ultium Cells is investing $2.6 billion to construct a facility in Michigan’s Lansing Delta Township, with plans to begin operations in 2024.
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