LG to Invest More Than $3 Billion for Battery Cathode Facility in Tennessee
Written by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati
Published Nov. 22, 2022
On Nov. 22, South Korea-based LG Chem Ltd. announced it will invest more than $3 billion to construct a battery cathode factory in Tennessee.
The facility is part of the company’s efforts to meet the growing demand for American electric vehicle battery components.
LG’s Tennessee-based cathode plant represents one of the most significant EV-related investments made by a South Korean company in the U.S. so far. Under the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) rules, automakers and battery manufacturers who rely heavily on China for sourcing their vehicle components face a cost disadvantage, so locally-established facilities such as LG’s new plant could become extremely valuable.
Mass production in LG Chem’s Tennessee cathode factory is expected to begin sometime in the second half of 2025. The facility is also expected to produce about 850 jobs for the state.
Overall, the upcoming facility is expected to have the capability to produce 120,000 tonnes of cathode materials annually by 2027. Such a number would be enough to power about 1.2 million electric cars.
In order to support its customers better and comply with the requirements of the IRA, LG Chem said it is also pursuing collaboration with mining companies and recycling businesses.
The upcoming LG Chem facility is expected to produce cathodes for batteries with nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum (NCMA) chemistry. Considering the NCMA battery is expected to be about 90% nickel, automakers that use them could reduce their reliance on materials such as cobalt, which is linked to controversial labor practices.
LG Chem is expected to supply cathode materials to Ultium Cells, a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution Ltd (LGES). LGES currently serves as a battery supplier for several key electric vehicle makers, including Tesla, Ford and Hyundai, among others.