South Korean battery powerhouse LG Chem has signed a memorandum of understanding with the US state of Tennessee for a $3.2bn cathode manufacturing facility — the largest to be built in the country so far, the company claimed in a statement on November 22.
The new 420-acre facility is expected to create 850 jobs and produce enough cathode material to power 1.2 million electric vehicles (EVs) annually.
The Inflation Reduction Act, put in place in August to incentivise US-based battery manufacturing, was what spurred LG Chem’s decision, the company said in the statement.
Tennessee has actively courted companies in the EV space, and this investment underscores its “growing profile” in automotives, Stuart McWhorter, Tennessee’s economic and community development commissioner, said.
The new facility will produce advanced cathode materials containing nickel, cobalt, manganese and aluminium — critical determinants of EVs battery capacity and lifespan — for next-generation EV batteries. It will operate using 100% renewable energy and automate the production line by using smart factory technology, LG Chem says.
LG Chem said it chose Tennessee for “proximity to key customers, ease of transporting raw materials and active cooperation of the state and local governments”.
The day after the Tennessee announcement, LG Chem joined smelter Korean Zinc in a $193m partnership to supply EV battery components to North America.