Baltimore Sun

US backs GM joint venture with $2.5B loan

- By Matthew Daly

WASHINGTON — A joint venture between General Motors and South Korean battery company LG Energy Solution is set to receive a $2.5 billion loan from the Energy Department to build battery cell factories for electric vehicles in three states.

The Energy Department said it has made a conditiona­l commitment to lend the money to Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture of GM and LG. The loan could help Ultium finance three lithium-ion battery plants planned in Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, bolstering the Biden administra­tion’s efforts to promote electric vehicles and reduce dependence on China for critical components.

The plants will help strengthen U.S. energy independen­ce and support Biden’s goal to have electric vehicles make up half of all vehicles sales in the United States by 2030, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.

Ultium Cells will supply GM as it works to convert its light-duty fleet to all-electric by 2035.

The plants are expected to create up to 6,000 constructi­on jobs and 5,100 operations jobs when completed. Ultium Cells is weeks away from opening its first EV battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio, which it says will help it meet strong demand for electric vehicles.

The joint venture also plans to build

battery plants in Lansing, Michigan, and Spring Hill, Tennessee. GM plans to announce the site of a fourth plant this year, CEO Mary Barra said Tuesday.

The federal loan would be the first exclusivel­y for a battery cell manufactur­ing project under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufactur­ing program, which provides loans to support U.S. manufactur­ing of light-duty vehicles, qualifying components and materials that improve fuel economy, the Energy Department said.

Ultium Cells has allotted about $2 billion for constructi­on of each plant, but a GM spokesman said commitment­s GM and LG have made to fund the joint venture don’t preclude pursuing a loan under a program meant to advance clean energy technology.

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