LG Chem had actually planned to start production earlier this year, but it cited lower-than-projected demand as the reason for the delay. Now, production should start at the manufacturing facility in July or August.
LG Chem is aiming to produce enough battery cells annually at this Michigan plant to equip 60,000 electric vehicles.
The lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing plant in Michigan was built with the help of US government funding, $151 million of it. The total construction cost was around $304 million for the manufacturing plant.
LG Chem supplies electric car batteries for GM’s Volt, Ford’s Focus Electric, and the Renault SA from its South Korean facilities.
Kim Jong-hyun, head of LG Chem’s battery division, is optimistic about the EV market. There were high hopes for the market early on that have been tough (i.e. impossible) to reach, but the technology is moving forward nicely and sales are picking up. As electric car prices go down, the market will expand, Kim notes. He sees plug-in electric vehicles as having more promise, since they are more efficient and allow automakers to hit emissions targets and better market their cars.