LG Electronics Opens First US EV Charger Factory in Texas

LG Hopes Fort Worth Factory Will Benefit From Biden’s Funding Programs
EV chargers
Electric vehicle chargers near Highway 50 in Lamar, Colo. (Rachel Ellis/Bloomberg News)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

LG Electronics Inc. on Jan. 12 opened its first EV charger factory outside of South Korea — in Forth Worth, Texas — as the company targets the North American market.

LG repurposed a 100,000-square-foot facility that has the capacity to produce 12,000 chargers per year, according to Michael Kosla, senior vice president of sales at LG Business Solutions U.S. The company will partner with charging station operators to sell its machines. LG anticipates benefiting from the Biden administration’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, which is allocating funding to operators of charging stations to build out a national network of public EV chargers in the U.S.

“We have letters of intent for thousands of units of sales already,” Kosla told Bloomberg Green. “So it’s been a very targeted approach, and NEVI is a tremendous part of that strategy.”

Seoul-based LG has been manufacturing chargers in South Korea for about a year, Kosla said, and is now looking to tap into the North American market as it aims to become a global leader in EV charging. In the U.S. alone, President Joe Biden wants at least 500,000 public chargers on roadways by 2030; the first of these federally funded public chargers was installed last month in Ohio. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $623 million in grants to continue building out the U.S. network.

LG will start by manufacturing Level 2 chargers with a capacity of 11 kilowatts and the ability to support both Tesla Inc.’s North American Charging Standard and the competing Combined Charging System. In the spring it plans to begin manufacturing Level 3 fast chargers with a capacity of 175 kilowatts, followed by 350-kilowatt fast chargers later this year. NEVI rules require that any fast-charging station receiving federal funding have a CCS plug.

As EV adoption picks up in the U.S., so too is the competition for fast charging. Seven automakers, including General Motors and Stellantis, last year kicked off a joint venture to install at least 30,000 fast chargers across North America. GM, Ford, Rivian, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and other carmakers are also making their U.S.-bound EVs compatible with Tesla’s charging gear, which Bloomberg Intelligence expects will increase EV drivers’ reliance on Tesla’s network of more than 20,000 U.S. Superchargers.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing above or go here for more info

“We think we’re going to compete very well against [Tesla] and others,” Kosla said.

The race to best Tesla’s network, coupled with a slowdown in U.S. EV sales growth, will test charging companies’ bottom line this year. In 2023, U.S. public charging installations were 76% below BloombergNEF’s forecast, and shares of companies such as ChargePoint, EVgo Inc. and Blink Charging Co. underperformed. BNEF expects those challenges to continue through 2024.