Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm announced that LG Chem will establish a new electrolyte production plant in Holland in West Michigan, expanding the state’s battery supply chain. The governor made the announcement during her three-day investment mission to South Korea.
The new electrolyte production plant will be located near LG Chem’s $303-million battery cell plant in Holland which is under construction. The 600,000 square-foot battery cell plant is expected to be fully operational in 2012 with up to 400 employees.
The electrolyte production plant is in the design stage and the project will be presented to LG Chem’s board in the weeks to come. The governor and LG Chem CEO Peter Kim also discussed the potential for bringing other key cell components currently made by LG Chem in South Korea to Michigan. The company made it clear that it would give strong consideration to bringing more material production to Michigan as cell production volumes increased to meet growing customer demand, according to the governor’s office.
LG Chem, which is supplying the battery for the new Chevy Volt, has a new contract with Ford Motor Company to supply the battery for the 2012 Ford Focus BEV. LG Chem was awarded one of Michigan’s first-in-the-nation battery cell manufacturing credits, as well as a US Department of Energy grant of $151.4 million to support its Michigan operations.
Granholm also meet with executives from SB LiMotive, the lithium-ion battery company that is a joint venture between Samsung and Bosch. SB LiMotive recently purchased Cobasys, a nickel metal hydride battery firm based in Orion. Granholm previously met with officials to push for Cobasys R&D operations to remain in Michigan long-term and for Michigan to serve as the launch pad for SB LiMotive’s US operations.
Granholm is also meeting with executives from W-Scope, a firm that provides separator material for the battery industry.
This trip to South Korea is the governor’s 12th and likely final overseas investment mission since 2004. Her previous missions to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan and Sweden have resulted in 49 companies announcing nearly $2 billion in new investment in Michigan and more than 20,000 new or retained jobs.