Ultium Cells, a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, received conditional approval on Monday for a $2.5 billion loan from the Department of Energy to help fund the construction of three battery plants in the U.S.
The plants will be in Warren, Ohio, Spring Hill, Tennessee, and Lansing, Michigan, with job creation expected to total 6,000 jobs during the construction phase and 5,100 jobs when the plants are at full capacity. The Warren plant is scheduled to be ready later in 2022 while the Spring Hill and Lansing plants are scheduled to be ready in 2023 and 2025, respectively. The three plants will have the capacity to supply batteries for the production of one million EVs annually.
The loan, which is still subject to certain criteria, is part of the original $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program started in 2008 during the height of the global financial crisis. In addition to this existing program, the Biden Administration last year passed an infrastructure bill that includes $7.5 billion for EV charging infrastructure and more than $7 billion for supply chains necessary for batteries, components, materials, and recycling.
General Motors Ultium batteries
The loan will be paid back by Ultium Cells with income generated on sales of batteries to GM and other companies using GM’s Ultium EV platform, such as Honda and Cruise. Honda will use the platform for its upcoming Prologue SUV as well as an SUV from Acura. Cruise will use the platform for its Origin self-driving shuttle.
Ultium Cells’ batteries feature large-format, pouch-style cells consisting of nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum chemistry. The cells are unique in the industry in that they can be stacked vertically or horizontally within a battery pack. The design provides engineers with more flexibility when it comes to fitting batteries into various vehicle types.
News of the loan coincides with an announcement made by GM that it has contractually secured battery raw materials for production of one million EVs annually by 2025.