LG Chem Investing $800 Million in New Advanced Battery Plant
Korean electronics firm LG Chem, Inc announced that it will spend $800 million over the next four years to construct a new facility dedicated to producing advanced Lithium-ion (Li-ion) polymer batteries for use in electric vehicles. Key guests at the groundbreaking ceremony for a plant that will be located about 100 miles south of Seoul included GM's executive director-global vehicle engineering, Robert Kruse, and Hyundai Motor's president of R&D Yang Woong-chul. Both automakers have signed contracts with LG Chem to provide Li-ion polymer batteries for their future EV and hybrid vehicles, the highest-profile of which is the upcoming Chevrolet Volt. While GM's pending Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings could potentially impact that agreement, LG execs remain confident that the firm will be supplying Li-ion polymer batteries for the Volt starting in November of 2010. LG Chem's decision to commit such a high level of resources to build this new state-of-the-art facility reflects expectations that the global market for electric vehicles will grow from its current 900,000 units to some 4.6 million by 2015. The firm aims to increase its share of the market for the advanced batteries they'll require to over 20 percent during that same time window.