Following yesterday’s announcement that GM is expanding its partnership with LG and will source a significant percentage of the parts for the Chevy Bolt from the electronic giant, LG is now announcing that it is accelerating battery production at the Holland plant in Michigan.
In a press release for the announcement, LG Chem Michigan President Nick Kassanos takes a swipe at Tesla, or at least at the media attention the company has been receiving for its own battery factory project: the Gigafactory. Kassanos on the announcement:
“The conversation about lithium-ion battery manufacturing in North America isn’t about what’s going to happen in the future, it’s about what’s happening today. High quality, affordable electric vehicles are today’s story and we are very excited to be a part of it.”
LG has been producing batteries in North America to supply the Chevy Volt for almost 2 years now, while Tesla is getting all the attention for the Gigafactory, which should start production in the spring.
But Tesla is getting all the attention for the planned size and volume of production of the facility rather than its timeline.
LG says that its workforce at the Holland plant doubled to now 300 employees. Tesla plans to employ 6,500 at the Gigafactory and recently hired “several hundred” workers in just one day.
Tesla plans to have 35 GWh of cell production capacity at Gigafactory at full volume around 2020, while LG is estimated to be able to produce around 1.5 GWh of batteries when the Chevy Bolt is expected to come out in late 2016.
GM says that LG produced more than 23 million cells for the Chevy Volt and they are seeing less than two problems per million cells produced.
The Holland plant was a $303 million investment for LG.
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Effective batteries for vehicles have three measures: Cost, Energy Density (WH/L) and Specific Energy (WH/Kg). Tesla/Panasonic are building a factory that will plummet the cost of batteries with 230% of the energy density and 150% of the specific energy of the LG batteries. Kassanos should start whistling. He’s about to walk past his graveyard. Batteries that are too heavy and too bulky for the capacity they provide will soon be cast aside, even if they are hidden in the structure of an automobile. (Thanks for the reference chart electrek. I’ll keep it handy.}