Picture: Ultium Cells LLC

Seeking to stimulate domestic electric vehicle production, the US Department of Transport is providing hundreds of millions of new loans for US advanced battery component manufacturing plants now being built.  

DOE announced in July a $2.5-billion conditional loan to a General Motors Corp. joint venture with South Korea’s LG Solutions that now has three large battery cell plants under construction, each about 2.8 million sq ft in size and costing from $2.3 billion to $2.6 billion.  

DOE said its loan, which could close in two months, would be the first for a battery cell manufacturing project under the agency’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program.  

The first plant is set to be based in Lordstown, Ohio, and will begin production this month to supply electric vehicles being made at two GM Michigan plants. Another plant in Spring Hill, Ten is set to be completed in late 2023 and will serve nearby GM vehicle production.  

Site construction also has begun for the third plant in Lansing, Mich., with battery cell production set to begin in late 2024. GM CEO Mary Barra said earlier this year that the firm could announce a fourth plant location in 2022. 

DOE also said last month it closed a $102.1-million loan to Australia-based Syrah Technologies LLC for expansion of its Vidalia, La., facility that produces graphite-based active anode material, a critical component of lithium-ion batteries. The estimated $176-million project will add 180,000 sq ft to the plant’s existing 50,000 sq ft. 

DOE said Syrah “is the only vertically integrated, large-scale AAM manufacturer outside of China, and the [Vidalia plant] is the first of its kind in the U.S.” Construction is targeted to finish by mid-2023, with Worley Group hired to provide detailed engineering and procurement services.