LG Chem’s Holland, Michigan Battery Factory Ready To Meet Increasing Cell Demand

OCT 31 2015 BY MARK KANE 18

GM Outline Chevrolet Bolt Battery Cost - How Much Clearer Can You Get?

$145/kWh at the cell level

LG Chem Michigan doubled its workforce at its lithium-ion cell manufacturing in Holland, Michigan to over 300 people and boasts of high quality. But more people are still needed as the company notes growing demand.

LG Chem’s cell factory groundbreaking was made in July 2010, but the actual production of batteries for the Chevy Volt began there in November 2013.  To date, a total of more than 23 million cells for the Volt have been produced (at the beginning, cells were made in South Korea).

The Korean company will supply cells for new 2016 Volt, but most of us are now excited by $145/kWh price-point cells for GM’s long range Chevy Bolt (that unfortunately are not being built in Holland). Cooperation between the two heavy weight partners is only getting stronger.

“That story got a boost this week when automotive and technology journalists from around the country gathered at LGCMI for an inside, up-close look at the inner workings of the fastest-growing EV battery plant in the U.S. The $303 million plant supplies battery cells for the 2016 Chevrolet Volt (Gen 2), and now with additional production equipment and over 300 team members it also has near-term plans to produce for energy storage systems and other automotive customers.”

Nick Kassanos, president of LGCMI said:

“The conversation about lithium-ion battery manufacturing in North America isn’t about what’s going to happen in the future, it’s about what’s happening today. High quality, affordable electric vehicles are today’s story and we are very excited to be a part of it.”

Bill Wallace, Director of Global Battery Systems for GM remarked:

“What we have seen in terms of quality from LG Chem is comparative to pharmaceutical levels of performance. Of the more than 23 million cells that have been produced for the first-generation Chevrolet Volt, we have seen less than two problems per million cells produced.”

Chevrolet Volt Looking For a Buyer

Chevrolet Volt

The high quality of LG Chem batteries are proven by “less than two problems per million cells produced” and no noticeable range drop of the 2011-2012 Volts.

While we don’t doubt LG Chem or the Volt’s performance, we must note that Volts (especially early versions) had pretty narrow state-of-charge windows available for use – and that also adjust over time as the cells deplete, which makes it impossible to compare long-term cell performance directly with most of the competitors. The battery is liquid cooled too.

“The performance of the cell technology developed between GM and LG Chem is among the best in the industry. Early Volt owners are still enjoying exceptional battery range performance.  Based on a GM study of more than 300 model year 2011 and 2012 Volts in service in California for more than 30 months, many owners are exceeding the EPA-rated label of 35 miles of EV range per full charge.  About 15 percent of the owners studied surpassed 40 miles of range.”

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18 Comments on "LG Chem’s Holland, Michigan Battery Factory Ready To Meet Increasing Cell Demand"

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I find it interesting that the cells for the bolt and volt will not be made in the same factory. I geuss the must be different shapes or sizes. That makes sense to me but it’ll be interesting to see if others follow the same path or if they go for one generic cell that the put in every model. It’ll also be interesting to see how the different chemistries evolve.

The Volt requires a higher power density than the Bolt does. That may or may not require a different battery cell.

The Volt modules can’t fit in a floor battery pack so they have no choice in making them different.
And to get 200 miles of battery in they have no choice but to go to a floor pack in that size of EV.
Though the cells packaged differently they
Good to hear if true they are not losing capacity as I just bought 2/3 of a Volt pack for my next EV.
And glad to hear they are making home, building powerpacks. Now if I can just buy some.
Panasonic keeps saying they are but can’t find any for sale in the US.
Powerwalls are the only ones for sale I’ve found but likely only if you buy a solar system with them.
But at $350/kwhr they are too expensive in most places to be cost effective anyway with my $.12/kwhr rates.
They need to be under $200/kwhr retail to be viable most places.

I wonder if L. G. Chem will sell cells on the open market and not just to OEMs.

There is a large market of used First Generation Leafs that Nissan has abandoned with a no battery upgrade policy for it’s unfortunate customers…this is a great opportunity for an aftermarket company to sell upgraded battery packs; or, for DIYers to buy a used low mileage Leaf and replace the low density cells. The Leafs are selling for less than $9,000 with some less than $7,000. I see a good buy if a long range battery was available from someone other than Nissan.
Nissan hasn’t caught on to selling EVs yet and they are setting policy base on selling obsolete ICEVs. BMW and Tesla know what they are doing; Nissan doesn’t.

“Nissan hasn’t caught on to selling EVs yet”

Yeah, having sold 274,000 EVs, the Nissan Renault alliance is pretty clueless.

I really hope they do something for the horrible low range on the Mitsubishi i-miev.The i-miev batteries 30% lower in power then the first generation leaf.

“we must note that Volts (especially early versions) had pretty narrow state-of-charge windows available for use – and that also adjust over time as the cells deplete, which makes it impossible to compare long-term cell performance directly with most of the competitors.”

That is NOT necessarily correct. Since Volt uses 85% of the window and none of the Volt has experienced any loss observed by owners yet, we can safely say that no Volt has lost more than 15% yet.

It is true that we don’t know precisely the exact % of loss, but we know that it is less than 15% or owners would have noticed the lack of range by now.

We also know that losing 2 bars on the LEAF is more than 15%.

This isn’t exactly true, either. The original Volt used closer to 66% of the battery (10.5 of 16kWh if memory serves me). Only later, once GM grew more confident in the batteries, did they widen the window.

I would love to see Mark’s source on his claim. I’ve heard the claim before, and it makes sense to do. It wouldn’t even be very hard from an engineering standpoint. But I have yet to see any solid evidence that they intentionally widen the charge window over time.

I think Brian is right. The original 2011MY Volt used around 10.3 or 10.5 kWh of a 16 kWh pack, so they were using just 65%’ish of the pack capacity. They MAY be opening up more of the battery to cover any capacity loss, and it makes sense to do so, but I haven’t read anything where GM says they are doing so.
Flip side of the coin, maybe the programming is to use 10.3 kWh with a 2 kWh ceiling, not a given percentage of the pack and it just adjusts the percentage used as the cells degrade?

Hi there, what pros and cons can you guys infer from a Volt to be used as a car for executive car airport service?
Thanks for your time and elaborations….

not good. After your first service, you need to charge it for 4-6 hours, depending on how far the first customer was from airport and your charging spot. Otherwise, you’d be running on gas most of the time. If so, you might as well get a gas car that cost less.

This is why I say Volt should’ve had DCFC. SparkEV has it, it makes no sense why the new Volt doesn’t.

Check out the rear seat head and leg room.
The volt is more a Sports Hybrid.

I’d look at the Prius Wagon, that has huge room.

Or the CMax, with the sunroof, and an L2 charger.

Yea a Sunroof., so U can Stick Ur head out of it …lol…

Just so inpatient to walt for a Bolt plus so poor financially to buy a used model S……

Sie und ich sind in derselben Finanzlage

“which makes it impossible to compare long-term cell performance directly with most of the competitors. The battery is liquid cooled too.”

While not long term, we do know the benefit of liquid cooled battery for BEV: faster DC fast charging. Of course, only Leaf is compared against SparkEV, but evidence is overwhelming that liquid cooled (or active cooled such as i3) is essential in having good DCFC. I wonder how eGolf would perform.

LG Chem . . . if you can really crank out cells at $145/KWH, you should be able to sell a very large quantity of them.

$7,250 for a 50KWH pack? Put that in a small aerodynamic glider and you should have 200+ mile EV for less than $30K