General Motors announced Thursday that ground will be broken next year on a $2.3 billion plant in the Lordstown area employing 1,100 people making electric vehicle batteries.

The specific location of the plant has not been announced. Officials say it will be on what it calls a “greenfield site”, meaning it will be on undeveloped land and not inside the now-idled former GM Assembly Plant in Lordstown.

The joint venture with the South Korea-based LG Chem will mass-produce battery cells for future battery-electric vehicles.

Asked if local workers who lost jobs with the closure of the Lordstown Assembly Plant, GM CEO and Chairman Mary Barra replied that all of those workers have already been offered jobs at other GM plants.

“With this investment, Ohio and its highly capable workforce will play a key role in our journey toward a world with zero emissions,” said Barra. “Combining our manufacturing expertise with LG Chem’s leading battery-cell technology will help accelerate our pursuit of an all-electric future.”

State Senator Sean O'Brien told 21 News that it has not yet been determined whether or not the workers will be represented by the UAW.

Asked if the workers will make the UAW's top rate, Barra said they will be well-paying jobs, but they have to remain competitive.

GM says the state-of-the-art plant will use the most advanced manufacturing processes all under one roof to produce cells efficiently, with little waste, and will benefit from economies of scale.

Plans also call for joint development and production of advanced battery technologies, with the goal of reducing battery costs.

The batteries will be used in GM’s next generation of battery-electric vehicles, including an all-new battery-electric truck coming in the fall of 2021.

“Our joint venture with the No. 1 American automaker will further prepare us for the anticipated growth of the North American EV market while giving us insights into the broader EV ecosystem,” said LG Chem Vice Chairman & CEO Hak-Cheol Shin. “Our long-standing history with General Motors has proven our collective expertise in this space, and we look forward to continuing this drive for zero emissions.”

The investment follows GM’s $28 million investment in its Warren, Michigan battery lab announced late last year.

Groundbreaking is expected to take place in mid-2020.

Barra admitted that the joint project is seeking incentives from the State of Ohio, but would not elaborate on the specifics of those incentives.

GM was criticized for not bringing a new product when it stopped making the Chevy Cruze in Lordstown earlier this year.

The Lordstown Motors Company has already announced plans to build an electric-powered pickup truck for commercial use at the former GM Assembly Plant. Barra said there are currently no plans to supply LMC vehicles with batteries.

 

 

Ohio Lt. Governor John Husted (center) is flanked by General Motors Chairman & CEO Mary Barra (left) and LG Chem Vice Chairman and CEO Hak Cheol Shin

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted (center) is flanked by General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra (left) and LG Chem Vice Chairman and CEO Hak Cheol Shin.