Major carmaker GM has told various media outlets that it plans to build two additional factories for manufacturing Li-ion EV batteries. Currently, GM has two EV battery plants under construction. With the two proposed plants, its annual EV battery production capacity is projected to surpass 100GWh.
The two battery plants that are already under construction are respectively located in Lordstown, Ohio, and Spring Hill, Tennessee. According to the reporting by several EV news websites, both projects are worth US$2.3 billion in investment and jointly developed with LG Chem (and its subsidiary LG Energy Solution). The construction of the Ohio plant commenced in May 2020 and is scheduled to finish in 2022. Once completed, the Ohio plant will have an initial annual production capacity of 30GWh. As for the Tennessee plant, it entered the construction phase this April and is set to enter operation in the latter half of 2023. Its annual production capacity will also start at 30GWh. Each of the two plants is expected to employ more than 1,000 workers.
GM’s latest fleet electrification strategy calls for a total annual sales of 1 million EVs by 2025. Furthermore, the carmaker will invest an extra US$8 billion in the development of EVs and autonomous driving technologies between 2020 and 2025. The additional amount will bring the total investment in these two areas during the period to US$35 billion. The two proposed battery plants will probably be covered under this spending as well. The electrification strategy also sets the target of launching around 30 battery-electric models in North America and China by 2025.
In sum, GM is taking a three-pronged approach to capture more market share for EVs: (1) expanding its offerings for battery-electric models; (2) developing its own battery technology (i.e., the Ultium battery) and EV platforms; and (3) rapidly building up its battery production capacity. An article appeared in Financial Times this January reported that GM CEO Mary Barra announced her company’s intention to overtake Tesla and become the top EV maker in North America by market share. It remains to be seen whether GM will be able to realize its ambition in the future.