Remember way back in…ah, last month when we said production of battery cells that would be put into the new 2014 Chevrolet Volt had finally begun at the much delayed LG Chem Holland Michigan facility? Forget all that.
Commercial production apparently didn’t last very long as the EPA had some questions about how the cells were being made.
The EPA even went as far as to issue a subpoena on LG Chem to learn what chemicals were used in production. Apparently, the EPA was onto something not approved as of yet for US use as LG came out with a statement about the matter:
“We discovered the possibility that this material may not be properly registered and made the decision to pause our production until we have that question resolved. We are currently reviewing the registration status and will work with the EPA to resolve the issue quickly. In the meanwhile, we are delaying production activities for approximately 6 weeks until we have confirmed the registration status or otherwise obtain approval from EPA.”
The Holland, Michigan site has been a contentious point with the DoE as LG Chem idled the facility for almost 2 years while production continued in Korea for Chevrolet Volt batteries; that after drawing down $151 million in development money from the agency while having employees “spend time volunteering at local non-profit organizations, playing games and watching movies” according to a Office of the Inspector General report. LG Chem was demanded to return $842,000 as a result of that report.
As for the chemical in question, LG Chem would only say it was a unspecified, low-volume ingredient.
During the shut down, LG says no staffing or employment will be affected and that they “view this as a temporary issue and are very confident that we will proceed with production soon.”