Tesla battery supplier LG Energy Solutions announced it would build a $1.4 billion battery production facility in Arizona as demand for electric vehicles throughout the United States skyrockets.
LG Energy Solutions said it would build the $1.4 billion plant to meet demand for “prominent startups” and other North American companies as consumer sentiment is beginning to transition toward sustainable vehicles. The factory is expected to be operational by 2024, the company believes.
The Arizona plant will be LGES’s first-ever U.S. factory to make cylindrical electric vehicle cells, which are typically used by automakers like Tesla and Lucid, which has an automotive production facility in Arizona. LGES is expected to break ground on the plant in Q2 2022, with mass production expected to begin in 2024 at a capacity of 11 gigawatt-hours, LGES said in a statement.
“With the establishment of our new Arizona plant, LG Energy Solution aims to deliver unparalleled consumer value in the rapidly growing cylindrical battery market,” Youngsoo Kwon, CEO of LG Energy Solution, said. “LGES will provide the most dependable, competitive and advanced products to rise as the best business partner that our clients value and trust.”
Tesla and Lucid could be among the potential customers to benefit from the plant. Additionally, Proterra and Philip Morris, a manufacturer of heated-tobacco sticks, could be other non-automotive companies receiving cells from the plant, Reuters said. These companies have not confirmed any link to the plant, however.
LGES could expand the plant’s potential production capacity in the future, it said. The facility will utilize state-of-the-art technology and operate as a “smart factory,” according to the company. Using remote support, manufacturing intelligence, logistics automation and more, LGES plans to utilize the latest production technology, along with its expertise in the mass production of batteries “to meet consumer demands in a stable manner and secure the company’s leadership in the North American battery market.”
“The Arizona factory could add further production capacity in the future as we are seeing growing demand for cylindrical batteries from various customers, including automakers and power tool makers,” an official for LGES said.
Automotive CEOs have called for an increase in availability for cells as more companies embrace the transition to EVs. Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated earlier this week that cell availability would be “the limiting factor” for the next two to three years. In past Earnings Calls for the company, Musk and other Tesla executives have stated cell constraints are the true bottleneck in production. Although Tesla has increased its annual production to nearly 1 million cars annually, the company has delayed several projects, including the Cybertruck, as cell availability continues to limit the automaker’s ability to commit to new projects.
Musk confirmed Tesla would launch no new products in 2022, effectively delaying several new vehicles until 2023.
LGES raised more than $10 billion in an IPO in Korea in January, and has announced several other battery ventures with other EV manufacturers such as General Motors and Stellantis.