The Journal Gazette
Friday, December 06, 2019 1:00 am

Battery factory coming to Ohio town

1,110 jobs for Lordstown

TOM KRISHER | Associated Press

WARREN, Michigan – General Motors and Korea's LG Chem have formed a joint venture to build an electric vehicle battery cell factory near Lordstown, Ohio, east of Cleveland.

The companies also will work together on battery technology to bring down the cost for future GM electric vehicles.

The new plant will create more than 1,100 jobs in the area around Youngstown, Ohio, and the joint venture plans to invest $2.3 billion in the plant and for battery development. GM says it will be among the largest battery factories in the world.

They'll break ground on the new plant sometime next year, but the exact location wasn't disclosed.

The new battery plant comes after GM closed a sprawling small-car assembly plant in Lordstown earlier this year. The battery plant was announced last fall during contract talks with the United Auto Workers union, but it won't make up for the lost jobs at the small-car plant.

The Lordstown factory stopped making cars in March. Just two years ago it employed 4,500 workers on two shifts who made the Chevrolet Cruze compact car. Most of those employees either retired or transferred to other GM factories.

GM has been working with LG Chem on electric vehicle batteries since 2009, shortly before the Chevrolet Volt rechargeable gas-electric hybrid went on sale. LG Chem currently supplies battery cells for the Chevrolet Volt fully electric vehicle.

Hak-Cheol Shin, LG Chem CEO, said it will reduce electric vehicle costs to the point where they can replace those powered by internal combustion engines.

“We believe by working together we'll accelerate and get to industry leading cost levels,” GM CEO Mary Barra said.

Workers at the new plant will decide whether they want to be represented by the UAW, the companies said. 

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