LG Chem has begun the construction of its second electric vehicle battery plant in China this week, in the Binjiang Economic Development Zone in Nanjing.

The new three-story facility is being built on a 200,000 sq m plot just 45km away from its original Chinese EV battery plant, with the first phase of the investment scheduled to come on stream towards the end of next year.

LG Chem ultimately plans to invest a total of KRW2.1trn (US$1.85bn) in the facility by 2023 to generate an annual production capacity of battery packs for 500,000 high-performance EVs with a range of at least 320 km on a single charge.

China's is the world's largest and fastest growing global market for electric vehicles, with some 670,000 sales last year and a further 107,000 hybrid sales. With minimum quotas for new-energy vehicles set to be introduced at the end of the year, combined sales are forecast to surpass 1.2 million units in 2019.

LG Chem CEO Park Jin-soo said the company will introduce "the latest cutting-edge technologies and equipment at the new plant in response to the country's rapidly growing EV market".

The new facility will expand LG Chem's global EV battery plant network to five, with two in China and one each in South Korea, Poland and the US. By 2020, the company expects to have in place the capacity to 1.5 million EV battery packs per year.