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GM starts building the cornerstone of its EV strategy – TechCrunch

Steel construction has begun for the nearly 3 million square meter factory that mass-produces Ultium battery cells and packs. This is the cornerstone of General Motors’ strategy to launch 20 electric vehicles by 2023.

Ultium Cells LLC’s battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio, is part of a joint venture between GM and LG Chem that was announced in December. At that time, the two companies committed to investing $ 2.3 billion in the new joint venture and to building a battery cell assembly plant that has more than 1

,100 on a greenfield site in Lordstown, northeast Ohio will create new jobs. The factory will be able to produce 30 gigawatt hours annually. To put this in perspective: Tesla’s plant in Sparks, Nevada, which is part of a partnership with Panasonic, has a capacity of 35 GW hours.

GM Ultium Cells factory

Built in Ultium Cells LLC’s brand new battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio.

The batteries and an underlying electrical architecture are used in a wide range of Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet and GMC brands, as well as in the autonomous Shuttle Cruise Origin launched in January. The Cadillac Lyriq EV flagship and a fully electric GMC lobster, which will be launched this fall and will go into production in the fourth quarter of 2021, will use the Ultium battery system. GM plans to unveil the Lyriq at a virtual event on August 6th.

This modular architecture, called “Ultium” (like the battery) can use 19 different battery and drive unit configurations, 400 volt and 800 volt packs with a storage range from 50 kWh to 200 kWh and front and rear – and all-wheel drive configurations. The heart of the new modular architecture will be the large-format battery cells that will be manufactured in this new factory.

GM laid the foundation stone on the site in May and has since poured the concrete foundations for the plant. According to GM, steel construction will continue until autumn 2020.

GM Ultium Battery Cell Manufacturing Factory

Credit: GM

GM has been using LG Chem as a lithium-ion and electronics supplier for at least a decade. The companies started working together in 2009. The relationship deepened as GM evolved and then launched the Chevy Bolt EV.

This latest joint venture represents a step for GM to change and a means to accelerate its EV plans, which could even involve outsourcing the business to a separate company.

“We are open to anything that we believe will increase long-term shareholder value and I would say nothing is off the table,” said GM GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra during a Wednesday earnings call.

GM reported a $ 758 million loss in the second quarter on Wednesday of $ 16.78 billion in sales. The 53% year-over-year loss and revenue decrease was primarily due to COVID-19 related plant shutdowns in the United States. However, the results exceeded analysts’ expectations.

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