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September 1, 2022

New Ultium battery plant starts production

Plant is the first of at least four planned in the US by the JV to supply GM

By Graeme Roberts

A General Motors and LG Energy Solution $2.3 billion joint venture battery production plant in Ohio has begun production, a media report said.

The 2.8 million square foot Ultium Cells plant is the first of at least four planned in the US by the joint venture to supply GM electric vehicles, Reuters reported.

The Warren plant, announced in 2019, has 800 employees and is preparing to further ramp up production, Ultium told the news agency, adding it plans to have 1,300 workers by next year when it reaches full capacity.

Ohio governor Mike DeWine reportedly toured the plant on Wednesday and earlier this week made a push for Honda and LG Energy to locate a planned $4.4 billion battery plant in the state.

United Auto Workers President Ray Curry told Reuters in a statement the union has “been in ongoing conversations with General Motors and Ultium, as we are with other employers building products in the sectors that we represent”.

Curry added: “UAW believes employers should respect the majority will of workers and that is why we demand card check and neutrality in organising campaigns.”

GM had previously expressed support for efforts by the UAW to unionise Ultium’s battery plants, Reuters noted.

Earlier this month, GM and LG Energy said they were considering a site in New Carlisle, Indiana for a fourth US battery cell manufacturing plant expected to cost around $2.4 billion, the report said.

In January, GM and LG announced a $2.6 billion investment to build a new battery cell plant in Lansing, Michigan set to open in late 2024. Ultium is also building a $2.3 billion plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee to be completed by the end of 2023, Reuters said.

Last month, the US Energy Department said it would loan Ultium $2.5 billion to help finance construction of battery cell manufacturing plants in Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan, the report added.

Legislation signed this month by President Joe Biden imposes new sourcing rules on battery components and critical minerals that take effect 1 January for EVs to be eligible for $7,500 tax credits, Reuters noted.

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