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The Korea Herald
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THE INVESTOR
April 16, 2024

Industrials

LG Energy Solution rolls out 1st battery cell at Tennessee plant

  • PUBLISHED :April 02, 2024 - 17:28
  • UPDATED :April 02, 2024 - 17:28
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Ultium Cells workers hold the first battery cells produced at its second manufacturing plant in Tennessee. (LG Energy Solution)

LG Energy Solution said Tuesday that it has delivered the first battery cells produced at Ultium Cells’ manufacturing plant in Tennessee to its client.

The battery products made at the Tennessee site will be loaded onto General Motors’ third-generation electric vehicles, including the Cadillac Lyriq.

The Tennessee plant is the second battery production site of Ultium Cells, a joint venture between LG Energy Solution and General Motors. According to LG Energy Solution, the first battery rollout came two and a half years after the joint venture began the construction of the plant.

Having committed a $2.3 billion investment in the Tennessee site, the companies plan to expand the annual production capacity in phases to 50 gigawatt-hours eventually, which will be enough to power about 600,000 EVs that can drive over 500 kilometers per charge. LG Energy Solution did not disclose the current capacity of the Tennessee site.

The battery maker underlined that the second Ultium Cells plant has maximized its production efficiency with smart factory systems featuring state-of-the-art automation, digitization and intellectualization technologies.

“We will carry out the stable operation by minimizing trial and error that could occur in the early stages of operation,” said an LG Energy Solution official.

Ultium Cells has been producing batteries from its first US manufacturing foothold in Ohio since November 2022. LG Energy Solution and GM invested $2.3 billion in the Ohio site.

The joint venture is constructing another battery manufacturing plant in Michigan with the goal to start production next year.

“The second (Ultium Cells) plant, which was created based on the firm partnership between LG Energy Solution and GM, along with the first and second plants, will grow into key bases for the North American EV market,” said Kim Young-duk, LG Energy Solution’s regional director at the second Ultium Cells plant.

“We will create a distinguished customer experience with overpowering leadership in (battery) technology.”

Despite the slowdown in EV market growth, LG Energy Solution is focusing on not only securing the most advanced EV battery technology but also expanding its battery production in North America with eight plants currently under construction or in operation. The Korean battery maker’s North American portfolio includes two standalone plants and six joint ventures with global automakers such as GM, Honda, Hyundai and Stellantis.

“Some battery manufacturers are either pushing back their expansion plans or scrapping them altogether as the EV market’s growth has slowed and faced a chasm,” said a local battery industry official.

“It looks like LG Energy Solution wants to reiterate that the company is sticking to the EV battery plan in the short and long term with the rollout announcement.”

By Kan Hyeong-woo (hwkan@heraldcorp.com)
The Korea Herald

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