Ultium Cells EV Battery Plant

This investment allows for a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution to build a plant that will produce electric vehicle batteries to keep the United States at the center of electric vehicle production.

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Photo shows Whitmer speaking in front of a large screen that reads
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) speaks at an electric vehicle event with General Motors in Lansing, Michigan, January 2022. (Getty/Bill Pugliano)
  • Project name: Ultium Cells EV Battery Plant

  • Law: Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

  • Recipient: General Motors and LG Energy Solution

  • Investment amount: $2,600,000,000

  • City: Lansing

  • State: Michigan

  • Congressional district: 7

  • Construction start date: 2022

  • Jobs created: 1,700

This profile is part of a project that finds and tracks the public and private sector investments generated or supported by three of the Biden administration’s economic laws. These laws make investments in the American people, helping to grow the middle class, lowering the cost of living, and setting up America to better compete and cooperate in the world. Pulling directly from several sources, this catalog provides users with publicly available information such as the number of jobs created, workforce training partnerships, and storytellers benefiting from particular projects, among other detailed information. The profile below expands on the economic, practical, and climate impacts of just one of the 35,000 investments that can be found in the Biden Administration Investment Tracker. It may be updated to account for future project developments.

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This $2.6 billion investment will create at least 1,700 jobs in electric vehicle (EV) battery production. The partnership between General Motors and LG Energy Solution will bring about lower-cost, optimizable EV batteries that will help make America the global leader in the EV market.

Historical context

A new plant to build EV batteries is being developed in Michigan as car manufacturers compete to dominate the EV market and Michigan hopes to remain a center of the U.S. auto industry:

  • “On December 20, 2021, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in collaboration with the Legislature, labor leaders, economic development agencies and various business groups, signed a package of economic incentives that will allow Michigan to compete for, and win, transformational projects like this investment by GM and Ultium that will bring long-term economic opportunity and security to regions and communities across the state. … In response to an effort to shift to an all-electric future, GM committed to 30 new global Electric Vehicles (EV). This shift will make a meaningful impact toward building a zero-emissions future. In June of 2021, General Motors announced it will increase its previously announced EV and Autonomous Vehicle (AV) investments from 2020 through 2025 to $35 billion.” – Michigan Strategic Fund, January 25, 2022
  • “Michigan officials panicked last September. That’s when Ford Motor Co. announced it would spend $11.4 billion on four factories for electric vehicles and batteries, not in its home state of Michigan, but in Kentucky and Tennessee. … So Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, worked with the state’s Republican-led legislature to pass an ambitious new set of economic development incentives to attract electric vehicle manufacturers. It worked. In January, General Motors and battery manufacturer Ultium Cells announced that they would spend $7 billion to build electric vehicles in Michigan. It would be the largest upgrade in GM’s history.” – Route Fifty, February 5, 2022
  • “GM CEO Mary Barra says she’s confident the automaker can dethrone Tesla as EV leader, and it’s spending big to get there.” – Automotive News, January 31, 2022

Project summary

Ultium Cells, a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution, is building a 2.8 million-square-foot plant that will produce EV batteries near Lansing, Michigan:

  • “Once operational, the plant will support the production of battery cells for GM’s Ultium Platform-based electric vehicles, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV.” – Lansing State Journal, September 7, 2022
  • “The company broke ground and started pouring concrete back in May. Steel construction is expected to continue into the spring of 2023.” – Fox 47 News, September 12, 2022 

The batteries that will be produced in the plant are General Motors’ Ultium batteries, which are purportedly more optimizable, faster charging, and lower cost:

  • “Ultium batteries are unique in the industry because the large-format, pouch-style cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. This allows engineers to optimize battery energy storage and layout for each vehicle design. Energy options range from 50 to 200 kilowatt hours, which could enable a GM-estimated range of up to 450 miles or more on a full charge with 0-60 mph acceleration in 3 seconds.” – Emerging Technology News, January 26, 2022

The plant is being funded in part by a $2.5 billion loan to Ultium to finance lithium-ion battery cell plants in Michigan, Tennessee, and Ohio:

  • “The Department of Energy awarded the loan to the venture, called Ultium Cells, for the plants. … The loan is part of a government program designed to address the growing need for batteries for electric vehicles.” – WXYZ Detroit, December 12, 2022

Outcomes, improvements, and practical impact

The project will help General Motors ramp up production of EVs and will contribute to infrastructure improvements in Lansing:

  • “Ultium Cells will provide battery cell capacity to support GM’s North American electric vehicle assembly capacity of more than 1 million units by mid-decade while supporting GM’s plans to supply other automotive companies and other industries including rail, aerospace, heavy trucking, and marine customers.” – WFMJ, September 13, 2022
  • “The state-of-the-art Lansing facility will use the most advanced and sustainable battery cell manufacturing processes. The plant will be extremely flexible and able to adapt to ongoing advances in technology and materials.” – Ultium Cells, last accessed March 2023
  • As Ultium continues construction of the plant in Delta Township, the township is providing $40 million for necessary water and sewer infrastructure improvements. – WILX, September 22, 2022

Climate impact

Once completed, the plant will increase the number of efficient, climate-friendly EVs on the road:

  • “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved Ultium Cells LLC to build an electric vehicle battery component at the request of a bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers. … U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Lansing, Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, and Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, asked EPA in April to expedite processing applications for the company to build carbon nanotubes as a part of their operations. … Carbon nanotubes efficiently transfer electricity, but EPA requires that it sign off on their production because the process could be harmful to human health and the environment.” – The Detroit News, September 21, 2022
  • “People living next door to the facility in Delta Township have a few concerns. They’re worried about what it will do to the environment. Will their water be contaminated? Will toxic chemicals be released into the air? What happens to their property value? These are just some of the concerns residents near the Ultium Cells battery plant want addressed.” – WILX, October 18, 2022

Economic impact 

The project will bring high-tech, likely union jobs to Lansing and spur economic growth in the region:

  • “Part of the investment includes a new battery plant right next to the GM Lansing Delta Assembly. The new facility is expected to bring 1,700 new jobs to Lansing. … GM already employs 50,000 people in Michigan and with more jobs on the way, it could lead to more money for Michigan businesses.” – WILX, January 25, 2022
  • “[Delta Township Manager Brian] Reed said the plant isn’t even complete but ‘it’s already spurred a lot of activity so we’re seeing an uptick in other types of economic development. So it’s been a very good historical partnership with General Motors and we expect this will be a great partnership with Ultium Cells as well.’” – WILX, September 22, 2022
  • “‘We are very excited about the opportunities that we’re going to offer the community. These will be highly technical manufacturing technology jobs that we will be providing the workforce,’ said plant director Grace Griffin.” – WLNS, February 24, 2023
  • “The hourly workforce at Ultium Cells LLC, the joint venture owned by General Motors and battery maker LG Energy Solution, has voted to unionize its plant in northeast Ohio after the union and the company spent months at odds over the organizing process. … It should enhance the UAW’s bargaining power with the Detroit Three automakers later next year, for example, and it signals that Ultium’s two other plants — one being built in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and the other in Lansing — will likely also vote yes for union representation.” – Detroit Free Press, December 9, 2022
  • “Traditional auto production generates some of the highest economic impact possible: for every 100 manufacturing jobs, more than 700 can be created, according to the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute. ‘The spinoff won’t be as great for electric vehicles, which require fewer suppliers,’ said Albert Sumell, an economics professor at Youngstown State University. ‘However,’ he added, ‘it’s still boosting the economy.’” – Bridge Michigan, February 4, 2022
  • “‘With a shared vision, GM and LG Energy Solution pioneered the EV sector by seizing new opportunities in the market well before anyone else did,’ said Young-Soo Kwon, CEO of LG Energy Solution. ‘Our third battery manufacturing plant, fittingly located in America’s automotive heartland, will serve as a gateway to charge thousands and later millions of EVs in the future.’” – Emerging Technology News, January 26, 2022

Official supporting statements

  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D): “GM’s $7 billion investment in Michigan — the largest in their history — will create and retain 5,000 good-paying jobs and enable us to build on our legacy as the place that put the world on wheels. When it comes to investing in Michigan, GM and I have the same philosophy: ‘Everybody In.’ I was proud to work with them, legislative leaders, utilities, and labor to land this project. Michigan’s future is bright and I will continue working with anyone to make transformational investments in our economy, create good-paying jobs, and empower working families.” – General Motors, last accessed March 2023
  • U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI): “Getting this new plant up and running will generate thousands of new jobs in the Lansing area – both directly and indirectly – and will support GM’s manufacturing in other parts of Michigan. That means the battery cells being built here in Lansing will support EVs being built by Michigan auto workers all across our state. The sooner the assembly lines start rolling, the better, and that’s why I led my colleagues to push the EPA to cut through government red tape and get the necessary approvals to break ground. I’m so glad that the agency has given GM and Ultium Cells the green light to move forward, and I can’t wait to see the significant impact this is going to have on Mid-Michigan. As the EV competition with China and others heats up, this plant is a win for Michigan, for American manufacturing, and for our national security.” – WLNS, September 21, 2022

Selected clips

  • “$2.6-billion battery plant starts to take shape in Lansing area” – Lansing State Journal, September 7, 2022
  • “New EPA approval for Lansing Ultium Cells plant” – WLNS, September 21, 2022
  • “Lordstown, Ohio gives Michigan hint of how EV battery plant changes economy” – Bridge Michigan, February 4, 2022

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