Ultium Cells LLC invests US$2.3bn in US manufacturing plant
Following an announcement made by Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors & LG Energy Solution - the joint venture will invest over US$2.3bn to build a second battery cell manufacturing plant in the United States (US).
“This partnership with General Motors will transform Tennessee into another key location for electric vehicle and battery production. It will allow us to build solid and stable U.S-based supply chains that enable everything from research, product development and production to the procurement of raw components. Importantly, I truly believe this coming together transcends a partnership as it marks a defining moment that will reduce emissions and help to accelerate the adoption of EVs,” said Jonghyun Kim, President and CEO at LG Energy Solution.
Spring Hill (Tennessee) battery cell manufacturing plant
Located in Spring Hill (Tennessee), construction will begin immediately for the 2.8 million-square-foot facility, creating 1,300 new jobs. The new plant is scheduled to open in late 2023, supplying battery cells to General Motors’ Spring Hill assembly plant.
“The addition of our second all-new Ultium battery cell plant in the U.S. with our joint venture partner LG Energy Solution is another major step in our transition to an all-electric future. The support of the state of Tennessee was an important factor in making this investment in Spring Hill possible and this type of support will be critical moving forward as we continue to take steps to transition our manufacturing footprint to support EV production,” commented Mary Barra Chairman and CEO at General Motors.
Using the most advanced and efficient battery cell manufacturing processes, the plant is expected to be extremely flexible and adaptable to ongoing advancement made when it comes to technology and materials.
With General Motors and LG Energy Solutions combining both their advanced technologies and capabilities via the Ultium Cells LLC, the two strive to accelerate automotive electrification.
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.