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General Motors evaluating second U.S. battery plant for electric vehicles

General Motors is looking to construct a second plant in the U.S. for producing battery cells for electric vehicles through a joint venture with LG Chem.

The automaker confirmed the plans Thursday morning after The Wall Street Journal reported the companies were nearer to making a decision on the location of the plant in Tennessee, but a final selection hadn’t been made. The automaker said it hopes “to have a decision on the potential project” by June.

Through their Ultium Cells LLC joint venture, GM and LG are presently investing $2.3 billion for a new battery cell plant in Ohio. The facility is expected to be finished in 2022, permitting the automaker to reduce costs and bring vehicles to market more quickly. The plant is thought to be a linchpin of GM’s plans for its next-generation EVs to be profitable.

GM is expected to release 20 new or remodified EVs as part of its $27 billion investment plan from 2020 through 2025.

Ultium is the automakers’ next-generation batteries and platform, which is expected to debut later this year in the GMC Hummer EV pickup. The first vehicles are not expected to include Ultium battery cells from the plant that’s presently being constructed.

Amid an ongoing semiconductor chip shortage that’s impacting vehicle production worldwide, there has been increasing interest in reorganizing vehicle supply chains, particularly for higher-tech components, including battery cells.

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