The U.S. Energy Department has finalized a low-cost loan worth $2.5 billion for Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture of General Motors Co. and LG Energy Solution.
The funds will be used to help pay for three new lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan. The announcement was made Dec. 12.
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm reportedly plans to highlight the closing of the Ultium loan in a visit to Michigan with Labor Department Deputy Secretary Julie Su the same day. They will be joined by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, UAW President Ray Curry and a number of representatives from automakers and EV battery firms. The group is expected to discuss a variety of topics, such as strategies for recruiting and retaining a skilled and diverse battery workforce.
In July, reports emerged stating the government’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program was planning to provide a loan to Ultium Cells LLC. GM and LG’s three upcoming battery facilities in the U.S. are expected to support 6,000 construction jobs and 5,100 operations jobs.
GM and LG Energy Solution are reportedly considering an Indiana site as a potential fourth U.S. battery plant. Construction is ongoing at a $2.6 billion plant in Michigan, which is expected to start operations in 2024. The joint venture also said earlier in December it would be increasing its investment in the Tennessee battery plant by about $275 million.
President Joe Biden has set a goal for the U.S. to produce 50% electric or plug-in electric hybrid vehicles by 2030. This would require automakers in the U.S. to make a serious shift to electric cars.
GM and LG’s plant would likely see a notable amount of support from the current administration, particularly as Biden has openly said he strongly supports unions. Recently, the UAW bagged a win after workers at GM and LG’s $2.3 billion Ohio battery plant voted in favor of a unionized workforce. The UAW is seeking to organize the growing electric vehicle (EV) supply chain.