The electric vehicle battery cell joint venture between General Motors Corp. and LG Energy Solution is expanding its investment in a Tennessee plant by $275 million, a move that will grow production capacity there by 40% and add 400 jobs.
The leaders of Ultium Cells LLC had previously committed to spend $2.3 billion to build a factory in Spring Hill, south of Nashville, to complement two manufacturing sites in Ohio and Michigan. (The former began production this summer, the latter is scheduled to be completed in about two years.) With the plans getting supersized to 2.8 million square feet, Ultium’s presence in Tennessee will grow to employ 1,700 at full capacity.
Production at the Spring Hill complex, which began life as the manufacturing home of the late Saturn brand and now also makes the electric Cadillac Lyriq, is expected to begin late next year. Word of Ultium’s expansion comes about two weeks after LG Chem executives (from which LG Energy Solution was spun out) said they will invest more than $3 billion to build a cathode factory north of Nashville, adding to a Tennessee EV manufacturing footprint that also includes Ford Motor Co.’s massive BlueOval City project near Memphis and Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga plant.
“This investment will allow us to provide our customer GM more battery cells faster and support GM’s aggressive EV launch plan in the coming years,” Tom Gallagher, Ultium’s vice president of operations, said in a statement. “Ultium Cells is taking the appropriate steps to support GM’s plan for more than 1 million units of EV capacity in North America by mid-decade.”
GM officials also have committed hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild a Toledo, Ohio, plant for EV drivetrain production and have said they will in coming months announce a fourth battery manufacturing site. The company plans to add four EV models—two carrying the Chevrolet name and one each for Cadillac and GMC—between now and early 2024 as it ramps up toward that 1 million-unit goal.