LG Chem provides batteries for a number of both domestic and foreign automakers, almost all of which are slowly ramping up electrification efforts by adding plug-in hybrids and, eventually, more battery-electric vehicles. Of course, that demand needs to be met with supply, and a new report claims the supplier is looking to expand its production capacity in the US.
LG Chem, based in South Korea, is investigating the idea of opening a second EV battery factory in the US, Reuters reports, citing three sources familiar with the company's ideas. LG Chem did not immediately return a request for comment, but the company told Reuters in a statement that it has no concrete plans at the moment.
According to Reuters' sources, the battery supplier is considering a $1.7 billion investment in a plant that could start producing batteries as soon as 2022. The sources also told Reuters that Kentucky and Tennessee are two states in the running for such a factory, and that a decision on a potential site could arrive as soon as the end of July. LG Chem's first, and currently only US factory is located in Michigan, but it has other plants in China, Poland and South Korea.
The sources also told Reuters about potential clients for these new batteries. According to the report, the new factory could be responsible for delivering batteries to Fiat Chrysler and Volvo, with other potential automakers including GM, Hyundai and Volkswagen. The supplier already manufactures batteries for the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and other models.
It's no surprise that LG Chem is looking to increase its production figures. Automakers around the world have committed to electrifying their vehicle lineups in short order, and whether it's plug-in hybrids or full-on EVs, the demand for batteries will only multiply as we enter the 2020s. Getting ahead of the curve and opening another factory could give LG Chem an advantage over competitors like Panasonic or SK Innovation, the latter of which was the target of a LG Chem lawsuit over alleged trade-secret theft.