[ad#post_ad]Korea-based LG Chem is the lithium-ion battery supplier for GM's Chevrolet Volt electric car.

GM has been working closely with LG's Michigan-based subsidiary Compact Power Inc. since mid-2007 to first develop and then refine the Volts' 16 kwh battery pack. In January of 2009 it was announced that LG had been awarded the Volt's battery contract. Since then, hundreds of packs have been built, and GM has launched its own battery pack production facility which has been operational since January.

The lithium-ion cells have been manufactured on a line at LG Chem's battery plant in Korea, where the cells for the initial production run of Volts will continue to come from.

The source of these cells will soon change to the USA.

Today LG Chem has announced it will invest $303 Million to build a lithium-ion cell manufacturing plant in Holland Michigan. The 650,000 square foot plant will create 400 jobs and be capable of producing from 15 to 20 million prismatic automotive cells per year, which is enough to sustain a production capacity of around 60,000 Chevy Volts per year.

LG Chem has already secured a $151.5 million DOE loan for the construction of the plan. It will match those funds with an additional $151.5 million.

Groundbreaking on the facility, which will be located on a 120 acre site in Holland Michigan, is expected to begin this summer and the plant will be fully operational in 2012.

The plant will be operated by Compact Power Inc, and though it is capable of making cells for other vehicles as well, initially it will only make the cells for the Chevrolet Volt. It is capable of from 50,000 to 200,00o vehicle battery packs per year, depending on their size.

“LG Chem’s selection of Holland to house the company's battery cell facility was a balanced decision based on the city's excellent infrastructure and proven, quality workforce," said Jae Ham, senior vice president, LG Chem. "What's more, LG Chem was impressed with Holland's outstanding determination and sincere effort and commitment to be at the forefront of the new green energy economy which will result in Michigan becoming the leader in the electric vehicle industry."

“Thanks to a bold vision and aggressive strategy, Michigan is now the leader of the U.S. advanced-battery industry,” Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm said. “We thank LG Chem for its commitment to our state, and we are proud to partner with the company, the city of Holland and the Obama Administration to grow a new industry and new jobs here.”

And from a mere concept only three years ago, the Volt and our enthusiasm may well have helped steward the rebirth of the automotive industry in the United States. We are witnessing the first steps of a brand new era.

Source (LG Chem)