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LG bullish on EVs: New US plant will build motors, batteries

LG announced plans for a new plant in Michigan, which will supply electric powertrain components for the Chevrolet Bolt.


Korean electronics maker LG intends to bolster its automotive business, building a new factory in Michigan to supply electric powertrains to General Motors for the Chevrolet Bolt EV. The company announced it would set up a 250,000-square-foot facility in Hazel Park, near Detroit, which will begin producing electric powertrain components in 2018.

LG credits the introduction of the Bolt for increasing its automotive business, showing a 43 percent increase year-over-year for the first half of 2017. The Bolt, GM's newest fully electric car, hit dealers in December last year, and has reported continued sales growth as its availability has expanded.

The proximity of LG's new factory to the GM factory producing the Bolt, also in Michigan, will create a more efficient supply chain. The Bolt uses a 150-kilowatt motor, driving the front wheels, powered by a 60-kilowatt-hour battery pack.

GM recently slowed production at the Orion plant where it produces the Bolt, but a GM spokesman said that move was aimed at reducing inventories of the Chevrolet Sonic, another small car from GM. The company plans a nationwide marketing push for the Bolt in September, as more dealers around the country receive the car. Likewise, the popularity of the Tesla Model 3 could create more interest in electric cars overall, helping to boost Bolt's sales.

Given LG's investment, it looks like it expects Chevy Bolt sales to grow.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct a statement that GM slowed production of the Bolt. It's factory slowdown was aimed at reducing inventories of the Chevrolet Sonic.