LG Chem announced on Tuesday that it is planning a massive cathode materials plant in Tennessee that will help produce batteries for electric vehicles in the United States.
According to LG, the plant will be the largest of its kind in the United States and, when at full capacity, it will be able to produce 120,000 tons of cathode battery material, enough to make batteries for 1.2 million electric vehicles per year. year, assuming a 310- mile range per vehicle.
LG Chem said the new site will play a key role in growing its battery materials business fivefold by 2027, compared to 2022 levels. States to comply with raw material supply rules pending the law on the resumption of inflation. This push to conform has recently been supplemented by a long list of federally funded battery supply chain projects in 12 states.
Meanwhile, prices for cathode materials have risen, largely due to increased demand as cell manufacturers multiply.
Price Trends of Cathode Materials for EV Batteries, 2010-2021 – US DOE
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on Monday, according to the tennessiancalled the LG Chem plant “the biggest foreign direct investment in the state’s history”.
The facility will manufacture NCMA (nickel, cobalt, manganese, aluminum) cathode materials for next-generation batteries that have improved capacity and stability, according to LG Chem, extending battery capacity and life of vehicles electrical. The facility will create more than 850 jobs, but the company said it plans to automate the entire production process while establishing “an analysis and quality control system that will be the benchmark for all other cathode factories in the world”.
This reminds us that another LG company, LG Electronics paid GM $1.9 billion for a battery manufacturing issue that led to the recall of every Chevrolet Bolt EV manufactured, as well as widespread battery replacement as part of the recall. This issue was attributed to two unrelated manufacturing defects that were expected to be present simultaneously, and while it is unrelated to the cathode materials this plant will manufacture, it serves as a reminder of the importance of quality control.
Concept drawing of the Ultium Cells plant in Tennessee
The company did not specify where the cathode material will be supplied. General Motors announced in July that it had “contractually secured” all the raw materials of the battery to reach production of 1 million North American electric vehicles by 2025, although it is not clear if this is included in this figure. Joint venture Ultium Cells LLC battery plants in Tennessee and Ohio will be among four plants manufacture cells for GM electric vehicles. Meanwhile, Honda and LG Energy Solution have committed $4.4 billion to a joint venture battery plant in Ohio to future Honda electric vehiclesand LG Energy Solution and Stellantis partner in $4.1 billion project battery manufacturing plant in Canada.
LG said the facility will run on 100% renewable energy. According to the Tennessean, the site’s access to power from the Tennessee Valley Authority played a significant role in the decision.
The plant will begin mass production at the end of 2025, while construction of the plant is expected to start in the first quarter of 2023.