Honda Announces Major EV Manufacturing Investment In Ohio

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45 years ago this week, Honda announced its first factory in America, a motorcycle assembly plant in Marysville, Ohio. Today, it has 12 factories in the US, but it has returned to Ohio to kick off its latest foray into making electric vehicles. At a press conference with Governor Mike DeWine, Honda and battery partner LG Energy Solution said that together they will invest $4.2 billion and create a combined 2,527 new jobs in Ohio between the establishment of a new EV battery factory in Fayette County and the retooling of existing Honda plants in Union, Logan, and Shelby counties for electric vehicle production.

“It has been more than four decades since Honda first saw great promise in Ohio, and although the way we manufacture vehicles is evolving, one thing that will stay the same is the quality of our workforce and their ability to get the job done,” said DeWine. “Honda and LG Energy Solution now join a long list of companies that have looked all over the country for the best place to do business and have chosen Ohio because we have the ideal economic climate and an innovative and talented workforce. Today’s announcement is further proof that there is no better place to be right now than in the great state of Ohio.”

Honda and LG Energy Solution will invest $3.5 billion in the new Fayette County battery plant, which will create at least 2,200 new jobs. A total of $700 million will be invested by Honda to retool its Marysville Auto Plant in Union County, Anna Engine Plant in Shelby County, and East Liberty Auto Plant in Logan County, creating 327 new jobs on top of its current workforce. Once reconfigured for electric vehicle production, the batteries for the vehicles made at the Marysville, Anna, and East Liberty factories will come from the new battery plant in Fayette County.

“Honda and LG Energy Solution had many other states vying for this historic investment, and they chose Ohio,” said Ohio Lt. Governor Husted. “Ohio’s talented workforce and strong business environment, along with Honda’s commitment to quality, continue to be a winning combination for the company and this state.” Construction on the Fayette County battery plant is expected to begin in early 2023, with a goal of starting mass production of advanced lithium-ion battery modules by 2025.

Honda has a long and fruitful relationship with Ohio. In addition to its first motorcycle factory, the Marysville Auto Plant produced the first US-made Honda Accord on November 1, 1982. The Anna Engine Plant, which opened in 1985, now produces more than 1 million 4-cylinder, V-6, and turbo engines for Honda auto plants throughout North America. The East Liberty Auto Plant opened in 1989 and has manufactured over 4.5 million Honda and Acura vehicles. In 1992, Honda opened a major product development center in Raymond, Ohio, that now creates many of the vehicles built in Ohio.

“Honda is proud of our history in Ohio, where our U.S. manufacturing operations began more than four decades ago. Now, as we expand Honda’s partnership with Ohio, we are investing in a workforce that will create the power source for our future Honda and Acura electric vehicles,” said Bob Nelson, executive vice president of American Honda. “We want to thank the leaders of the state of Ohio, as well as in Fayette County, Jefferson Township, Jeffersonville, and Washington Court House for welcoming this new joint venture between Honda and LG Energy Solution and giving us another Ohio community to call home.”

What About Honda & GM?

Honda is late to the electric car party, but now appears to be fully onboard with joining the EV revolution. It is collaborating with General Motors to build two electric SUVs at GM’s Spring Hill factory alongside the Cadillac Lyriq. While GM is touting its Ultium battery technology — jointly developed with LG Energy Solution — LGES is also supplying Honda independently.

We don’t know definitively what cars will be built in Tennessee and which will be manufactured in Ohio. Honda has just taken the wraps of its Prologue, an electric SUV design study that is thoroughly modern and quite appealing to the eye. Is it destined to be built in Tennessee or Ohio? That’s a good question and one we don’t have the answer too at the moment. Our correspondent Jennifer Sensiba points out the Prologue has a number of interior components that look like the came from the GM parts bin, which suggests it may be on for assembly in Spring Hill. Or not.

In any event, the Honda/GM partnership seems to be acceptable to both corporations, at least at the outset. Electric cars are disrupting the market and both are striving to find a new equilibrium going forward. Whatever its business relationship with GM, Honda intends to continue building cars in America, even if they have batteries instead of infernal combustion engines.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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