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March 4, 2021 10:45 AM, EST

GM Looks for Location for Second US Battery Factory

GMConstruction at the first battery facility in Lordstown, Ohio. (Roger Mastroianni for General Motors)

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General Motors is looking for a site to build a second U.S. battery factory with joint venture partner LG Chem of Korea.

The companies hope to have a decision in the first half of the year, spokesman Dan Flores said March 4.

He would not say where the company is looking, but it likely will be near GM’s Spring Hill, Tenn., factory complex, which is one of three sites the company has designated to build electric vehicles.

A joint venture between GM and LG Chem is building a $2 billion battery factory in Lordstown, Ohio, near Cleveland, that will employ about 1,000 people. The site is fairly close to GM’s two other designated electric vehicle plants, one in Detroit and the other north of the city in Orion Township, Mich.

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GM is likely to need far more battery capacity if it is able to deliver on a goal of converting all of its new passenger vehicles from internal combustion engines to electricity by 2035.

LG Chem now has a battery cell plant in Holland, Mich., that supplies power to the Chevrolet Bolt hatchback and the new Bolt electric SUV.

Industry analysts have said that automakers face a global shortage of batteries as the industry moves away from gasoline-powered vehicles. Most of the world’s batteries are built in China and other countries.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that GM and LG Chem are pursuing a site in Tennessee to build a new battery plant.

GM’s venture is risky, at least based on U.S. electric vehicle sales. Last year full battery-electric vehicles accounted for only 2% of the U.S. market of 14.6 million in new vehicle sales. But automakers are set to roll out 22 new electric models this year and are banking on wider consumer acceptance.

Consulting firm LMC Automotive predicts that U.S. battery-powered vehicle sales will top 1 million per year starting in 2023, exceeding 4 million by 2030.

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