GM, LG Chem to build battery plant near former GM Lordstown Plant site in Ohio

WARREN, Mich. (AP) - General Motors and Korea’s LG Chem have formed a joint venture to build an electric vehicle battery cell factory near the site of former GM Lordstown Plant in Ohio, creating 1,100 jobs.

The companies also will work together on battery technology to bring down the cost for future GM electric vehicles.

The new plant will create more than 1,100 jobs in the area around Youngstown, Ohio, and the joint venture plans to invest $2.3 billion in the plant and for battery development. GM says it will be among the largest battery factories in the world.

They’ll break ground on the new plant sometime next year, but the exact location wasn’t disclosed.

The move comes after GM closed a sprawling small-car assembly plant in Lordstown earlier this year. The battery plant was announced last fall during contract talks with the United Auto Workers union, but it won’t make up for the lost jobs at the small-car plant.

The Lordstown factory stopped making cars in March. Just two years ago it employed 4,500 workers on two shifts who made the Chevrolet Cruze compact car. Most of those employees either retired or transferred to other GM factories.

Workers at the plant will decide whether they want to be represented by the UAW, the companies said.

The joint venture likely will pay less than the roughly $30 per hour that GM pays unionized assembly plant workers.

Cells from the factory will go into the next generation of GM electric vehicles, including a new battery-electric pickup truck scheduled to go on sale in 2021.

Battery cells from the plant likely will be shipped to factories where the electric vehicles are made, where they will be assembled into battery packs, GM said.

The companies made the announcement Thursday morning at GM’s technical center in Warren, Michigan, north of Detroit.