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FutureStarrHyundai and LG Energy Join Forces to Build $4.3 Billion Battery Plant in Amelia County, Georgia
Hyundai and LG Energy have come together to construct a $4.3 billion battery plant in Bryan County, Georgia. The facility will produce electric vehicle (EV) batteries to equip Hyundai, Kia and Genesis vehicles that will be assembled at Ellabell Assembly Plant nearby. Hyundai hopes this joint venture will enable it to meet US sourcing requirements in order to take advantage of tax credits, while at the same time decreasing dependence on China. Location This joint venture will produce 30 gigawatt-hour (GWh) battery cells annually, enabling production of 300,000 electric vehicles annually. Construction is scheduled to start during the second half of 2023 with commercial production beginning by end-2025 at an anticipated minimum. This new plant will be constructed in Bryan County near Savannah in Georgia, adjacent to Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America - currently under construction to produce Hyundai, Kia and Genesis electric vehicles - and Governor Brian Kemp has called this "another milestone on Georgia's journey to become the EV capital of the nation". Additionally, auto parts suppliers have pledged more than $2 billion and 4,800 workers for employment near this site. LG Energy Solution, a subsidiary of LG Chem, is one of the world's top lithium-ion battery suppliers for electric vehicles, mobility applications and IT use. LG Chem has developed their innovative battery technology over three decades; today this patent portfolio stands at over 25.000 worldwide patents! The US government offers several tax incentives for electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers who assemble their batteries here, under certain criteria: these batteries must contain at least some critical materials sourced within its borders or free trade partners. Last week, South Korean firm Duksan Electera made headlines when it revealed it would invest $95 million to establish its inaugural North American factory in Bedford County, Tennessee. The facility will produce electrolytes for electric vehicle batteries and create 101 jobs within Tennessee's borders. Duksan already operates two plants in South Korea and one in Europe. Ford is building BlueOval City near Stanton in Tennessee as an expansive clean energy mega campus encompassing its expanded lineup of electric F-Series trucks as well as facilities from multiple suppliers and recyclers. Materials Hyundai Mobis will use this facility to assemble battery cells into packs for Hyundai, Kia and premium Genesis EVs produced at assembly plants in Montgomery Alabama and West Point Georgia, sold directly to customers or sold through Hyundai Mobis' dealership network. Hyundai Mobis can produce 30 gigawatt-hours annually - enough to create 300,000 electric cars each year! The project is expected to commence in 2024, and completion should occur around late 2025, in keeping with President Biden's goal of increasing sales of zero-emission vehicles as well as with US sourcing requirements set out in the Inflation Reduction Act that mandate that certain percentage of key materials for electric vehicles (EVs) come from America or its free trade partners in order for buyers to qualify for federal tax credits. Scientists are constantly on the lookout for materials to meet the growing need for batteries that store energy at home and power electric vehicles. Lignin, a polymer found naturally in trees' woody texture, is emerging as one such promising material. Eight years ago paper manufacturer Stora Enso found that extracted lignin from waste pulp left after producing newspapers and cardboard contains carbon that's essential to lithium-ion battery anodes used in smartphones and electric cars. Cobalt, nickel, manganese and aluminum are essential raw materials used in battery production plants. The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to one of the world's biggest producers of cobalt, creating one of the greatest procurement risks for companies building battery plants. Companies must diversify their supplier bases in order to reduce dependency on Congo cobalt production which may become scarce and more costly should production slow or cease altogether. Processes In its production process, this plant will require five critical minerals: lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite. These elements form battery cells used to store and release energy to propel electric vehicles; recently the US Department of Interior listed these materials as "critical minerals," due to their importance. Any disruptions in extracting, processing or importing these materials could create bottlenecks which affect global economic stability and trade relationships; increase transportation costs; decrease investment returns and delay decarbonization processes in transportation networks. Battery cell manufacturing includes several stages, such as mixing, coating, calendering, slitting and electrode making. Each of these processes may present risks of contamination and environmental harm and require strict controls to maintain safety standards. Furthermore, equipment used during these steps may produce greenhouse gas emissions and criteria pollutants depending on fuel type - this equipment must meet both local and federal air quality permit regulations for best results. Lithium-ion batteries use an inert liquid solvent to separate lithium from other battery materials during electrochemical processing, which may be dangerous to workers and the environment, and is strictly regulated by local and state authorities. Furthermore, this step produces significant wastewater which must be treated before discharging to waterways; additionally a major source classification permit must be secured which requires strict monitoring, recordkeeping, reporting, and treatment requirements before discharge from plant premises. US battery production accounts for 7 percent of global output; however, electric vehicle makers have recently made more investments domestically. Hyundai Motor Group and LG Energy Solution recently signed an MOU to establish a joint venture in Bryan County, Georgia to produce electric car battery cells at an annual capacity of 30 gigawatt hours for use in Hyundai IONIQ 5, Kona Electric and IONIQ 6 dedicated EV models. Technology Hyundai's new battery plant will produce both prismatic and cylindrical cells for assembly into battery packs used to power electric vehicles, meeting US demand while taking advantage of tax credits available to EV buyers and reducing Hyundai's dependence on imported batteries. The battery plant will be located in Bryan County, Georgia and should start production by the end of 2025. With an annual production capacity of 30 GWh - enough energy to power 300,000 electric vehicles - its investment represents North America's single largest battery factory investment to date. Hyundai and LG have recently joined forces to invest in electric vehicle battery manufacturing as part of their commitment to expanding global markets. Both firms have enjoyed a longstanding partnership, and this latest joint venture builds upon that expertise in this sector. As battery prices decrease and their shipping costs become more costly relative to value, manufacturers should build them closer to where they'll be assembled into cars - something Tesla pioneered with their Nevada Gigafactory; other carmakers may follow in its footsteps in the near future. As well as considering physical location of a battery plant, other important considerations include skilled labor availability and infrastructure requirements - these will have a direct bearing on its cost and overall effectiveness. Furthermore, battery technology continues to evolve, with new chemistry, larger form factors, and different battery manufacturing techniques (like Tesla's dry electrode processing demonstrated during September's Battery Day) continually being explored - this means a battery plant constructed today may differ considerably from one constructed five years from now. Production Hyundai Mobis will assemble them into battery packs for Hyundai, Kia and premium Genesis EV models. Hyundai hopes that its JV will increase Hyundai's competitive edge in the US market where cars with foreign-made batteries cannot claim federal tax credits due to government sourcing requirements under Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). To qualify for tax credit rebates under IRA requirements. The new plant in Bryan County, Georgia will have an annual production capacity of 30 gigawatt hours; enough electricity to power 300,000 electric vehicles every year. Production should begin early 2023 and peak by the end of 2025. Hyundai is taking steps to bolster its electrification initiatives in the US by opening an electric vehicle assembly plant at Ellabell in Arizona and expanding Kia's West Point factory to produce large-size EV9 SUVs. Partnering with LG and SK will enable Hyundai to diversify suppliers, increasing supply chain flexibility - something critical in an ever-evolving automotive industry like ours. LG Energy Solution, a subsidiary of LG Chem, is a global producer of lithium-ion batteries for use in electric vehicles, mobility devices, IT servers and energy storage systems. As the world leader in battery patents related to lithium technology, it boasts the top number. Furthermore, GM uses LG batteries exclusively in both their Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac EV models produced by the US automaker.