South Korean electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution (LGES) and General Motors (GM) have agreed to invest an additional US$275m in their joint venture plant currently under construction in Spring Hill, Tennessee, according to reports.

Ultium Cells, the battery making joint venture between LGES and GM, said the additional investment would increase planned production capacity at the plant by around 40% to 50 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of battery cells per year from the originally announced 35GWh. The factory is expected to employ 1,700 people instead of 1,300.

The two companies first announced plans to invest a combined US$2.4bn in the plant in April 2021 with completion scheduled for late 2023.

The factory would mainly support GM’s growing EV production ambitions. The automaker plans to have capacity for 1m EVs in place in North America by the mid-2020s, according to Ultium Cells operations chief Tom Gallagher.

Ultium Cells began battery production last August in a newly built plant in Warren, Ohio, and is currently also building an EV battery plant in Lansing, Michigan, which is scheduled to begin operations late in 2024. The three factories would have a combined production capacity of over 130GWh of battery cells per year when fully operational.

LGES also has its own EV battery investment plans for North America and currently has a plant in Michigan. In October it agreed to invest US$3.5bn jointly with Honda Motor in another plant in Ohio.

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LGES this year has signed a number of battery minerals supply agreements with North American mining and mineral processing companies while parent company LG Chem recently announced plans to build a US$3.2bn battery components plant in Tennessee with a planned production capacity of 120,000 tons of cathode materials per year from late 2025.