Battery Production for 1.2 Million Electric Cars
In late November, LG Chem, one of the world’s largest producers of batteries for electric vehicles, announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the state of Tennessee to build a new cathode manufacturing facility. The new factory, which will cost more than $3 billion, will be the largest of its kind in the United States.
Located in Clarksville, Tennessee, the new LG Chem battery factory will cover a whopping 420 acres, and will produce up to 120,000 tons of cathode material annually by 2027. This production capacity will be enough to power the batteries of up to 1.2 million electric cars, presuming an average range of 310 miles per charge.
A key part of LG Chem’s strategy to quadruple its battery materials business by 2027, construction of the plant will begin in the first quarter of 2023. Mass production of batteries will be underway in the second half of 2025. Once up and running, it will employ over 850 people.
The brand-new facility will produce advanced cathode materials containing nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminum (NCMA), which will be used in the next generation of EV batteries to provide improved capacity and stability. NCMA cathode materials are among the most critical ingredients for battery capacity and long life in electric vehicles.
U.S.-Based Production of EV Batteries
The Tennessee plant will feature LG Chem’s most advanced production technology. It will be able to produce more than 10,000 tons of cathode material per line, the highest in the industry. The company also plans to implement its smart factory technology in Tennessee to automate the production process.
Present at the signing ceremony in November were Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, and LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-Cheol, among others.
Why Tennessee? LG Chem says that the state was chosen due to its proximity to key automotive-industry customers (many Korean, Japanese, and German brands have major assembly facilities in the U.S. south), as well as the active cooperation of state and local governments. LG Chem also cited the Biden administration’s new Inflation Reduction Act, which provides incentives for consumers buying electric vehicles with locally-produced components.
In addition to the benefits realized by investing in manufacturing on U.S. soil, LG Chem envisions the giant new Tennessee site being one of its supply chain hubs – where material and recycling partners can work together to supply customers around the globe.
Powered by Renewable Energy
The new facility is designed with environmental clean energy needs in mind. LG Chem says it will collaborate with power suppliers in Tennessee to respond to the demands of its customers, including vehicle manufacturers, for more renewable energy sources. Operation of the new facility will rely completely on renewable energy provided by solar and hydroelectric power.