2022 GMC Hummer EV Sport Utility Truck “Edition 1”
General Motors is planning to build a second plant in the USA to manufacture battery cells for electric vehicles as part of a joint venture with LG Chem.
The automaker confirmed the plans Thursday morning after the Wall Street Journal reported that the companies were about to make a decision to build the Tennessee plant, but no final selection had been made. GM hopes to “make a decision on the potential project” by June.
As part of their joint venture Ultium Cells LLC, GM and LG are currently spending $ 2.3 billion on a new battery cell plant in Ohio. The plant is expected to be completed in 2022 to allow the automaker to cut costs and bring vehicles to market faster. The facility is considered to be the linchpin of GM’s plans for next-generation electric vehicles to be profitable.
GM is expected to release 20 new or redesigned electric vehicles as part of its $ 27 billion investment plan from 2020 to 2025.
Ultium is GM’s next generation battery and platform that is expected to be featured in the GMC Hummer EV pickup later this year. The first vehicles are not expected to contain Ultium battery cells from the facility currently under construction.
Outgoing GM sustainability chief Dane Parker said last year the automaker needs to invest more in battery production capacity. He said the surge was likely a mix of new facilities and upgrading existing ones.
“In many cases we can retrofit existing propulsion systems to achieve this,” he said at a Goldman Sachs conference in December. “In some cases we will build new ones.”
With the ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips affecting vehicle production around the world, there is growing interest in restructuring vehicle supply chains, particularly for high-tech components, including battery cells. The White House ordered a review of the U.S. battery supply chain last week.
“We have to bring battery production to the US,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley at a Wolfe Research conference last month. “We can’t go over what we’re doing with chips in Taiwan right now. It’s just important.”
Ford has not announced any plans to invest in US battery production. Most batteries are currently made in Asia and Europe. Tesla currently operates a huge battery and cell manufacturing facility with Panasonic in Nevada. Tesla announced in September that it had started producing its own cells at a pilot facility in Fremont, California.