In recent months, automakers have voiced their intentions to accelerate the transition to electric traction, including American giant General Motors’ decision to invest $854 million in the production of eight-cylinder internal combustion engines, despite doubts about its feasibility to build an additional plant for the production of traction batteries looks like a kind of ecological démarche.
First, some sources said last week that GM and LG Energy Solution would not set up a fourth joint venture in the United States focused on producing traction batteries for electric vehicles. In August, the parties announced that they were considering the Indiana site as the site for construction of a fourth joint venture in the United States, and the project budget was estimated at $2.5 billion. GM officials said last week, that the company plans to invest in the construction of a fourth battery factory in the USA, but did not want to comment on the rumors in detail. LG Energy Solution said that negotiations on this project are still ongoing, but no decisions have been made yet.
According to sources cited Reuters, GM can still build the facility, but with the support of another partner. GM and LG are already building facilities in Michigan and Tennessee with launches in 2023 and 2024, respectively. The first joint venture in Ohio launched the Ultium family of traction batteries last September. By the middle of next year, they will provide production of 400,000 electric vehicles in North America, and by 2025 GM expects to increase that volume to 1 million vehicles.
GM last week announced to invest $918 million to modernize existing businesses in the United States. A significant part of the amount, $854 million, will be used to prepare the production of sixth-generation V-shaped internal combustion engines with the so-called compact sixth-generation 8-cylinder block, traditionally demanded in the North American market. The remaining $64 million will be used to develop housings and cooling systems for electric vehicle traction batteries in New York and Ohio states. The company believes that the ability to produce components for both internal combustion engines and electric vehicles in the same company provides the business flexibility needed in today’s conditions.