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Following Lordstown sale, General Motors to build battery cell plant in Ohio

The new facility will employ 1,100 workers through a new joint-venture company with Korea's LG Chem.

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General Motors dealt the Mahoning Valley in Northeast Ohio a blow this year after it announced plans to idle the Lordstown car plant -- a facility it eventually sold to startup Lordstown Motors. Yet, the area can close the year with a bit of good news from the automaker.

GM said on Thursday that it will construct a new battery-cell production plant in the Lordstown area with a total of $2.3 billion in investments for the new facility. The automaker won't wholly own the operations, however. GM said it's created a new joint-venture company with South Korea's LG Chem to operate the battery-cell production plant. The joint venture will be responsible for the cash injected and this new company will be a 50/50 operation.

During UAW labor contract negotiations, battery cell production was something the automaker floated, though it was not part of the final agreement.

The automaker said this will be a "state of the art" facility with the latest technology housed within. It'll also be flexible with the ability to adapt to changes coming as more electric cars begin to roll out of GM factories. It's quite possible these battery cells will power GM's electric pickup truck, slated for a 2021 launch. It's widely speculated this electric truck will bring about the rebirth of the Hummer off-road brand.

The overall goal with this joint venture and new battery plant is to further drive economies of scale and make batteries cheaper to produce. Electric cars haven't yet reached cost parity with the internal-combustion engine and they're often far more expensive than a comparable, traditional vehicle.

GM already waved the investment wand over the state of Ohio earlier this year, pouring $700 million into various facilities across the state. This $2.3 billion investment will be in addition to the previous sum, bringing the announced investment total this year to $3 billion in Ohio.

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