GM and LG announce giant new 50 GWh battery cell factory in the US

GM and LG Energy Solution, through their Ultium partnership, announced a giant new 50 GWh battery cell factory coming to Lansing, Michigan in the US.

It’s going to be the third Ultium battery factory to support GM’s EV ambitions.

At Electrek, we always say that if you want to gauge how serious an automaker is about electric vehicles, you have to look at their effort to secure large supplies of battery cells.

We were pleased to see GM partner with LG to create Ultium back in 2019, and they have since been building two battery cell factories. But now they are getting even more serious with a third, larger battery cell factory.

GM and LG announced today a joint $2.6 billion investment in a new project in Lansing, Michigan.

According to a press release, the plant will produce 50 GWh of battery cells per year at full capacity:

“Ultium Cells will build the new plant on land leased from GM. The new battery cell plant is expected to create 1,700 new jobs when the facility is fully operational. Site preparation on the approximately 2.8 million-square-foot facility will begin this summer, and the plant is scheduled to open in late 2024. The facility will supply battery cells to Orion Assembly in Michigan and other GM EV assembly plants. Ultium Cells expects the facility will have 50 gigawatt hours of battery cell capacity when running full production.”

The plant is expected to provide cells for several GM assembly plants and end up in a bunch of different EV models, so it’s hard to get a good average pack size.

But with an average of 70 kWh per pack, it would be enough battery cells for over 700,000 electric vehicles per year.

Mary Barra, GM Chair and CEO, commented on the announcement:

“This significant investment demonstrates our commitment to strengthen our Michigan and US manufacturing presence and grow good-paying jobs. We will have the products, the battery cell capacity, and the vehicle assembly capacity to be the EV leader by mid-decade.”

GM already started delivering its first EV based on the Ultium platform, the Hummer EV, and it is expected to follow soon with the Cadillac Lyriq.

Those are relatively low-volume vehicles. GM is going to need a lot of those battery cells for more recently announced electric vehicle programs, like the Silverado Electric and the Equinox EV, which is expected to start at just $30,000.

This new capacity from the upcoming Lansing Ulitum battery plant is expected to come online around the time that these vehicle programs ramp up.

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