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New Battery Tech Incoming From GM and LG Chem

Hello and welcome to your daily Charge Smart blog where we keep you up to date with everything that's trending in the EV world. Today, we'll be talking about an all new joint venture between General Motors and LG Chem which has been set up to advance battery tech.

If you haven't heard already, then let me remind you that the GM group are planning to turn Cadillac into a premium EV marque. You've got to wonder, where would they get the batteries from? Fear not because GM are already on the ball.

Above: The Cadillac EV concept

First, let’s talk about Cadillac. GM expects the luxury marque to sell more EVs than fossil fuel cars by 2030! The president said that they would be entering the next decade as an internal combustion brand but leaving it as an electric brand, a big transition! Cadillac is expected to release their first pure EV in 2021 in China where the brand has seen a lot of success. This lines up with GM’s plan to release 20 new pure EVs by 2023. The president also said that Cadillac will be offering a large EV SUV much like the Escalade, if not an EV Escalade altogether. The brand are also expecting to see their second consecutive year of record sales as the Chinese market keeps on increasing demand for the American brand.

Fun fact: Cadillac sell over 200,000 cars in China as compared to only around 150,000 in the United States! That’s pretty mind boggling.

Above: The Escalade could be an EV by the end of this decade

Enough about Cadillac’s plans, let’s get back to the partnership between LG Chem and GM. The two companies have committed to investing a total of $2.3 billion into their new joint venture. This comes in addition to GM’s announcement to invest $28 million into their Michigan based battery lab. The venture has been formed in order to mass produce battery cells to fuel GM’s new wave of EVs like the ones that Cadillac will be releasing. The battery cells will also go towards powering GM’s EV truck that has a planned release date around mid-2021. The sizable investment will go towards setting up a battery assembly plant in an area around the Northeast of Ohio. The factory is expected to create more than 1,100 jobs and construction is set to start by mid next year. This joint venture builds on a long running partnership between the two companies where GM has been using LG Chem as suppliers for their lithium-ion batteries and electronic tech for a decade! That relationship was further strengthened with the launch of the Chevrolet Bolt EV which sourced batteries and tech from LG Chem.

Above: Chevy EVs in production

However, the GM brands have so far been an alternative to consider but not the frontrunner in the EV space.

The president predicts that this new partnership will change that and make GM a winner in this clean tech automobile space. The main goal for the partnership so far is to supply the batteries for GM’s 20 new electric vehicles that are set to be launched in phases starting next year until 2023. Currently, GM buy their batteries from LG chem and some say this move was to ensure that the company have more control over their batteries for when their EV revolution happens. GM needs the EVs to be affordable and able to be mass produced especially. The venture will help GM to create the kind of infrastructure they need for their electric push this decade and to keep the costs down. The deal isn’t only fruitful for GM as LG are also getting a big boost to their battery business. A boost that will see their battery division grow to a massive $25 billion by 2024.

The new battery plant will have an annual capacity on the higher side of 30 gigawatt hours with the ability to be expanded. If all goes to the plan then GM’s new factory will have nearly the same annual capacity as Tesla’s superfactory in Reno, Nevada. Tesla and Panasonic are in a joint venture for that factory where Panasonic makes the cells and Tesla turns them into battery packs for their cars. The estimated capacity of that factory is said to be around 35 gigawatt hours!

GM are also looking to rebuild some bridges with the venture as the location they have picked for the factory is a significant one. Lordstown in Ohio suffered immensely when GM decided to stop making the Chevrolet Cruze over there, closing down the plant meant the loss of 1,200 jobs! A battery EV transport company by the name of Lordstown Motors bought the old GM factory last year. GM’s new battery factory will create around 1,100 jobs in the area.

Thanks for reading! Make sure to check back in tomorrow when we look at Toyota's new stance on EVs.

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