LG Chem Produces 6 Million Cells In US For 2016, Enough For Over 30,000 EVs

DEC 23 2016 BY MARK KANE 16

An employee at Chrysler's Windsor Assembly Plant readies installation of LG Chem's 16 kWh Michigan-made LG Chem battery

An employee at Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant readies installation of LG Chem’s 16 kWh Michigan-made LG Chem battery

While LG Chem’s Holland, Michigan plant didn’t get off to the strongest start (with the US government not thrilled with how LG Chem spend its development money, or the speed at which it was put to use), today both the company and the Department of Energy can tout the facility as a growing success story.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

During 2016, the company expanded its workforce at Holland, Mich. lithium-ion cell manufacturing plant by 140, good for a headcout of 450 – New positions include technical operators, journeymen electricians, engineers and more.

LG Chem stated that this year production in Holland exceed:

  • 6 million lithium-ion cells
  • for more than 30,000 vehicles including Chevy Volt and new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid (from November)

With the addition of the last of the “big 3” US automakers signing on for battery production this year, specifically the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid joining earlier contracts with Chevy (from 2009) and Ford (in 2010), LG expects things to only improve in 2017.

Editor’s Note: Chevrolet Bolt EV batteries are produced in South Korea.

“LG Chem produces lithium ion battery cells for electric and hybrid vehicles including the award-winning Chevy Volt.  In November, LG Chem added the production of battery cells and battery packs for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, the first-ever hybrid minivan.  The Holland plant manufactured over 6 million battery cells in 2016, enough for over 30,000 vehicles, and is expected to produce even more in 2017.”

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

Aerial CG View Of LG Chem’s Holland, MI Plant

Up until recently, and for the past 2 model years, the Chevy Spark EV's batteries where also made in Holland, MI

Up until recently with the model’s discontinuation, and for the past 2 model years, the Chevy Spark EV’s batteries where also made in Holland, MI

Jeremy Hagemeyer, Human Resources Manager said:

“With unemployment rates being the lowest they’ve been in Ottawa county in 15 years, we’re proud that so many outstanding people chose to start their career with LG Chem in 2016. We plan to continue adding to our team to meet growing demand for batteries.”

Nick Kassanos, president of LG Chem Michigan said:

“We’re attracting talented people who value challenging work and plenty of opportunity for growth. We’ve built a very strong team and we’re excited about the quality of the candidates we continue to see week in and week out.”

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16 Comments on "LG Chem Produces 6 Million Cells In US For 2016, Enough For Over 30,000 EVs"

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I’d love to get more details on this plant. For example:

How many shifts do they run?

How many lines do they have?

Have either of these expanded in 2016?

How much future potential expansion is readily available in terms of lines or shifts?

Lastly, is it really cheaper to MFG the Bolt EV batteries in South Korea instead of here?

It’s very cool to see this happening in the US, just like the Gigafactory.

I’m glad they have this US factory so when Trump re talks are one sided trade deals. This company will be rewarded for having US factory that they can enlarge by a factor of four.

Even if this happens I think the other global factories would still have a lot of local battery demand.

Right…and the Chinese will fine them for price fixing to the tune of $30 million or so.

How many MWh or GWh of batteries is that?

6 million lithium-ion cells and more than 30,000 battery packs sounds impressive, but without knowing how many Wh each cell has, or how many kWh each battery pack has, there’s no yardstick by which to compare the output of this factory to others.

But hey, any report of Americans getting manufacturing jobs is good news these days.

I’m going to guess around 550MWh of cells. I’m basing this on the Volt and Spark EV battery pack sizes (18.4kWh) multiplied by 30,000.

Obviously the numbers aren’t perfect, but I’m betting that’s a good estimate.

That seems a reasonable guess but I’d start with what they produced in 2015, 650 MWh, and increase it by whatever Jay’s sales estimates have increased by for 2016…..say 20%. Then add a little for the Bolts. Prolly something a little over 800MWh for 2016. I’d be willin’ to bet their 2016 numbers went up instead of down.

That all seems reasonable to me!

The Bolt has about 300 cells. So 200Wh per cell there.

The Volt also has about 300 cells, so more like 60Wh per cell there.

Pick your own likely mix of high-vs-low density cells. I’d guess 75% low.

So that would be 570MWh/year? Honestly, that seems a bit high to me. Perhaps I overestimated the percentage of high density cells.

Why the Bolt mention? They are made in Korea!

Okay. See, I have no idea how to make a proper estimate.

@ClarksonCote & unlucky:

Thanks to both of you for making the effort of giving estimates! 🙂

And Merry Christmas to all.

Merry Christmas to you too!

In 2015 when they added another line. They were then producing 650 MWh of cells. They said then that they had the capactity to go to 3GWh . If that were 100% devoted to Bolt EVs that would only be 50K cars. They are also producing for the Volts and Pacifica etc so odds are that in order to go more than 35K Bolts the will have to get cells from elsewhere.

Glad to see them doing so well and creating jobs in the US. Im not sure why everyone is trying to compare who has the most battery capacity, its more important to meet the supply needs of real vehicle sales then to have excess capacity and lose money.

I really hope they have plans of raising the battery making to 14 million batteries in 2017. In that they have been getting a lot of orders lately and I’m wondering if they will have enough. The Chevy Bolt and Chevy Volt could take up a lot of battery capacity if the Bolt were to sell 2000 a month and the volt 3000 a month.

If they are using units of Pacifica cells (175Wh each) then its 1 GWh