The market for U.S. manufacturing of batteries for the electric vehicle (EV) sector continues to grow. The latest announcement comes from South Korea-based LG Energy Solution (LGES), which together with Hyundai Motor Group has formed a joint venture (JV) for a battery cell factory in Georgia.
The announcement on May 26, during a signing ceremony at LGES headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, comes as the CLEANPOWER 2023 event wrapped up this week in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference, sponsored by American Clean Power with POWER as a media partner, featured several companies involved in the e-mobility sector, with many touting the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) on the clean energy market. The IRA provides incentives to support U.S.-based manufacturing of energy storage and renewable energy equipment.
“Two strong leaders in the auto and battery industries have joined hands, and together we are ready to drive the EV transition in America,” said Youngsoo Kwon, CEO of LG Energy Solution, in a news release. “By further advancing our product competitiveness and global operational expertise, LG Energy Solution will commit our best efforts to offering the ultimate sustainable energy solutions to our customers.”
The new facility, representing an investment of more than $4.3 billion, will be built near Savannah in Bryan County, Georgia. Savannah will host POWER’s Experience POWER Week events from Aug. 14-17 this year. The new factory will be adjacent to the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America, a manufacturing plant currently being built at the site.
“When our governor [Brian Kemp] said he wanted to make Georgia the electric mobility capital of America, many doubted that,” Tim Echols, vice chair of the Georgia Public Service Commission, told POWER on Friday. Echols will be a keynote speaker during Experience POWER Week in Savannah. “But with the addition of the LG Energy Solution plant adjacent to Hyundai, Rivian, Club Car, EZ Go, Ascend Elements, the Kia EV9, and the SK Innovations Battery Plant, people are starting to believe Governor Kemp.”
Echols noted, “The SK Innovations Battery Plant is making Ford’s EV batteries here in Georgia already. Now with LG Energy Solution coming to Savannah, we are quickly becoming what our governor described as the electric mobility capital of America.”
Hyundai Mobis, a parts supplier to Hyundai as well as other automakers, will assemble battery packs using cells from the Georgia plant. Those packs will be supplied to U.S. factories producing Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis EV models.
Hyundai Motor Group and LGES will each hold a 50% stake in the JV.
30 kWh of Production Capacity
Officials on Friday said the annual production capacity from the Georgia plant will be 30 GWh, with the ability to support manufacturing of as many as 300,000 EVs each year. Construction of the plant is expected to start in the second half of this year, with battery production beginning as soon as late 2025.
The Georgia plant will the seventh LGES facility either operating or under construction in the U.S.
“Hyundai Motor Group is focusing on its electrification efforts to secure a leadership position in the global auto industry,” said Jaehoon Chang, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor Co. “We will create a strong foundation to lead the global EV transition through establishing a new EV battery cell plant with LG Energy Solution, a leading global battery producer and long-time partner.”
The IRA was passed in August of last year. The measure includes $10 billion in tax credits for U.S.-based factories, including EV and battery manufacturing facilities. Officials on Friday noted that companies have announced some $11 billion in new investments to support manufacturing in the EV sector in the past nine months.
Other major factories include two LGES facilities in Arizona. The company in March said it would invest $5.5 billion for those manufacturing plants. Toyota, Panasonic, and Statevolt are other groups that have announced multi-billion investments to build U.S.-based factories to manufacture EV batteries, as well as other equipment for the energy storage sector.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).