LG Chemical to Extend Its Electric Vehicle Battery Plant in the U.S.

Jan 05, 2018

LG Chemical is going to extend its battery plant located in the U.S. as number of demands for batteries is rising quickly due to high sales of electric vehicles.
According to industries on the 4th, LG Chemical is going to invest about $9.4 million (10 billion KRW) and extend its electric vehicle battery plant located in Holland, Michigan and increase number of production lines from 4 to 5 by August of this year. After extension, its annual production capacity of its plant in Holland will be about 3GWh, which is an amount equivalent to 50,000 Bolt EV batteries as an example.
Although construction of this plant started in 2010 after LG Chemical invested about $300 million, its first product was actually shipped in 2013 as operation of this plant was delayed due to electric vehicle markets being developed slower than expectations. At that time it set up a plan to build 5 production lines and it is currently have 4 production lines on full operation. It also has about 500 employees working at this plant. In 2017, LG Chemical built a battery pack assembly facility that is about 10,000 m2 in size and it is heard that LG Chemical is also looking into building 2 more production lines in order to respond to increased demands. However timing of construction of additional production lines can be changed after 2019 depending on LG Chemical’s contracts with American customers.
Reason why LG Chemical is extending its plant is because sales volumes of electric vehicles with LG Chemical’s batteries are looking up. Starting with GM in 2009, LG Chemical secured Ford and Chrysler as its customers.

Aerial view of LG Chemical’s plant in Holland, Michigan (Database from The Electronic Times)
<Aerial view of LG Chemical’s plant in Holland, Michigan (Database from The Electronic Times) >

Batteries for GM’s Volt PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) are mostly produced from its plant in Holland. Sales volume of Bolt EV, which is equipped with LG Chemical’s 60kWh battery, is rising steadily. According to an American website called Hybrid Cars that specializes in eco-friendly vehicles, GM sold 2,987 Bolt EVs in November of last year which resulted in number one in sales out of all electric vehicles with market shares of 35.39%. GM also sold 1,702 Bolt PHEVs which resulted in number two in sales followed by Toyota’s Prius Prime (21.83%) with market shares of 20.25%.
Chrysler’s PHEV minivan called Pacifica, which has been mass-produced starting from end of 2016, is also equipped with LG Chemical’s 16kWh battery. Pacifica is the first vehicle to equip LG Chemical’s battery pack that includes BMS (Batter Managemenet System) and a battery cell. Chrysler had sold 264 Pacificas in American PHEV markets by the end of November of last year which resulted in 8th place with market shares of 3.14%.
According to a market research company called SNE Research, LG Chemicals had shipped 4.1GWh amount of batteries to the entire world excluding China from January until the end of November of last year and was placed second with market shares of 21.3%. Amount of its shipment in 2017 increased by about 2.7 times compared to that in 2016, and its ranking also went up by two steps.
“We cannot disclose any information regarding size of our production and our customers.” said a representative for LG Chemical.
Staff Reporter Jung, Hyunjung | iam@etnews.com

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