It looks likely that three new lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery cell manufacturing facilities will be built in Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan, thanks to a conditional commitment announced by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO). According to LPO Director Jigar Shah, the $2.5 billion loan to Ultium Cells LLC — a joint venture of General Motors and South Korea-based battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution — would help finance construction of the plants. Together, the facilities are expected to create 5,100 jobs when operating at full capacity.
While the conditional commitment demonstrates intent to finance the project, several steps remain and certain conditions must be met before DOE issues a final loan.
The funding is being offered through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) program, which provides loans to support U.S. manufacturing of light-duty vehicles, qualifying components, and materials that improve fuel economy. This would be LPO’s first loan exclusively for a battery cell manufacturing project under ATVM.
Ultium Cells LLC manufactures large format, pouch-type cells that use a state-of-the-art nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum (NCMA) chemistry to deliver more range at less cost. They can be arranged in different combinations of flexible modules and battery packs for a wide range of vehicles.
Ultium Cells will supply GM with Li-ion battery cells for EV battery packs as the automaker works toward eliminating 100% of tailpipe emissions from its new light-duty vehicles by 2035. To support this goal, GM plans to install capacity to build one million EVs in North America by the end of 2025. The plants will also support GM’s plan to make its global products and operations carbon neutral by 2040.