Local TV Report From Inside LG Chem’s Chevy Volt Battery Plant. Finds Nothing Happening (Video)

5 years ago by Jay Cole 7

Aerial CG View Of LG Chemical's Holland, MI Plant

Earlier this year, we wrote an article about under utilization in LG Chem’s Michigan battery plant that was leading to idle hands and rolling furloughs for employees at the facility as LG waited patiently for an increased demand for it’s lithium batteries; whether than came from General Motors with its Voltec lineup, Ford with the Focus Electric, or another other third party OEM.

WOODTV 8's Headline Splash...This Isn't Going To Be Pretty

Now it appears a local television station, WOOD TV8, has added video footage (appears below story) and interviews to this story.  And nothing fans the flames of dissension like TV media coverage.  Especially when the lead is “YOUR TAX DOLLARS” paid for it.

The report goes on to detail what exactly happens when there is too litte work, and too many employees.    Basically, no one is working on making batteries.

According to one worker at the facility, “There was probably up to 40 of us that would just sit in there during the day.  We were given assignments to go outside and clean.  If we weren’t cleaning outside, we were cleaning inside.  If there was nothing to do, we would study in the cafeteria, or we would sit and play cards, sit and read magazines.”

WOOD TV8 says this revelation has already fanned the flames of a governmental inquiry, saying “those who oversee the Federal Recovery Act are already acting on our investigation, asking the US Inspector General  to review our findings.”

LG Chem has about 200 workers at the plant after receiving a $151 million dollar US grant to build and fund the plant.  $133 million of which the company has drawn down to date.

According To Reports, LG Chem's Outdoor Area Is Very Well Maintained

One issue that is troubling is that workers inside the plant say LG Chem has shipped necessary supplies back to Korea that are needed to make lithium batteries in the future, and the plant has yet to produce a battery that has actually been put into service inside a Chevrolet Volt.   Apparently the plant has made about 100,000 test cells in preparation for production, but that work (for the most part) ended last December, and the batteries were “recycled” in the spring.

As to when production might resume, the company said, “As market conditions shift, LG Chem will begin production when demand increases and will operate the plant on a full time schedule as soon as possible.  That will ultimately depend on market conditions and consumer demand.”

While it is discouraging to see the effects of a much slower than anticipated electric vehicle market, we can not find fault with LG Chem in any manner that would prompt a response from the Federal Recovery Act as WOOD TV8 suggests might happen.  You just can’t legislate sales.

Volt no jolt: LG Chem employees idle

WOOD TV8 via Autobloggreen

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7 responses to "Local TV Report From Inside LG Chem’s Chevy Volt Battery Plant. Finds Nothing Happening (Video)"

  1. scottf200 says:

    What is going to happen at the battery plant for the Nissan LEAF I do wonder? 200,000/yr

    “Nissan’s 1.3 million square foot, $1.7 billion EV battery plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. The project is going ahead thanks largely to a substantial loan from the US Department of Energy as part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.

    The battery plant is expected to produce 200,000 units a year. “

    1. backstroke says:

      Overall costs will dictate where cells are manufactured and currencies will play a part within that calculation. The Korean Won doesn’t present the same problem as the strong Japanese Yen and helps to explain why Nissan will manufacture cells in Tennessee.

  2. GeorgeS says:

    Why are we allowing all the Volt’s batteries to be made in Korea. This is total BS. They should be made here in the US.

    1. Schmeltz says:

      Those were my thoughts too George. It seems to me that LG is the one to blame here. They accepted the money from the U.S. Government with the understanding that they would be manufacturing their automotive batteries in a new U.S. factory. When the plant was finished, and the workers were trained to do their jobs, why didn’t the battery production then shift from Korea to this plant? There it sits…a brand new facility with 200 workers sitting on there hands with nothing to do and they blame it on slow Volt sales??? Aren’t we at about 16,000 Volt sales this year so far? Why couldn’t those 16,000 cars have the American made batteries???

      Stuff like that boils my blood. Unacceptable IMHO.

  3. Eric Cote says:

    It’s unfortunate that Ford continues to only supply their Focus EV’s on a customer order basis, rather than stocking them in dealerships. I wonder what the number of EV sales per month is before LG could start this plant up?

    I’m surprised they don’t start low rate production with the existing Volt sales. It would help them gear up for additional volume as more EV options become available.

  4. Open-Mind says:

    “we can not find fault with LG Chem in any manner that would prompt a response from the Federal Recovery Act …”

    I guess that depends whether the money to pay these “workers” is coming from LG or from tax payers. Hopefully the former, but most businesses do not willingly waste their own money.

  5. kdawg says:

    Reminds me of the GM jobs bank. I had friends that would have pig roasts and set up putt-putt courses in the plant.