GM, LG Chem announce $2.3B EV battery joint venture in Ohio

The venture is expected to add more than 1,100 jobs in Lordstown, Ohio.

By Hyunjoo Jin and David Shepardson

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SEOUL/WASHINGTON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - General Motors Co. and South Korea's LG Chem said on Thursday they will invest $2.3 billion to set up an electric vehicle battery cell joint venture plant in Ohio, creating one of the world's largest battery facilities.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be a guest on "Varney & Company" Thursday morning at 9:45 a.m. ET.

The plant, which will be built on a new location near the site of GM's closed assembly plant in Lordstown in northeast Ohio, will employ more than 1,100 people, the companies said.

Construction is set to begin in mid-2020 and the plant will have an annual capacity of more than 30 gigawatt hours with the flexibility to expand.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
GMGENERAL MOTORS COMPANY31.50-0.42-1.32%

The plant will build battery cells for ``a dedicated production stream of future EVs'' from GM, including a truck in fall 2021, the companies said.

"Combining our manufacturing expertise with LG Chem's leading battery-cell technology will help accelerate our pursuit of an all-electric future,'' GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said in a statement.

LG Chem previously said it would invest $916 million in its U.S. subsidiary by 2023 to set up the venture. An LG Chem spokesman confirmed an earlier Reuters report on the joint venture, but declined to give details.

Sources familiar with the plan said workers at the plant were expected to be represented by the United Auto Workers union and earn in the range of $15 to $17 an hour.

General Motors Chairman and CEO, Mary Barra. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

A GM-LG plant could be the first unionised battery factory in the United States. Tesla's factory, and LG Chem's battery factory in Michigan do not have unions.

Ohio has become a lightning rod in the 2020 presidential election after GM announced in November 2018 plans to close a car manufacturing plant in Lordstown, drawing condemnation from U.S. President Donald Trump.

The plants closure was one issue during a lengthy strike by GM workers.

FILE - Picketers carry signs at one of the gates outside the closed General Motors automobile assembly plant, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in Lordstown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

GM said in September it planned to bring battery cell production to the Lordstown area, which it said would create about 1,000 manufacturing jobs.

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Reuters first reported in July that LG Chem was considering its second U.S. factory with production slated to start in 2022.

Last month, GM sold its shuttered Lordstown Assembly plant to a start-up company that plans to begin building electric pickup trucks by the end of 2020.

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(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul and David Shepardson in Washington; Additional reporting by Paul Lienert and Ben Klayman in Detroit, Heekyong Yang in Seoul; Editing by Mark Potter and Chizu Nomiyama)