General Motors is set to build a new $400 million battery materials plant in Canada with South Korean company POSCO Chemical, adding to the automaker’s already-massive spending plan for the transition to electric vehicles. The plant will produce cathode materials for GM’s Ultium battery platform.
The Becancour, Quebec plant will produce cathode active material for electric vehicle batteries, one of the most crucial and expensive portions of an EV cell. GM said in a press release that the cathode material being produced at the plant is a “key battery material consisting of components like processed nickel, lithium and other materials representing about 40% of the cost of a battery cell.”
The cathode material will be used in GM’s Ultium battery platform, which it unveiled several years ago. Ultium will act as “the heartbeat” of GM’s electric vehicles, providing more energy and less costly materials, increasing range and decreasing vehicle prices.
GM has spent allocated a massive portion of capital toward its EV plan, which includes a million units of annual production capacity by 2025 in the United States. It also has a plant in Ingersoll, Ontario that will launch EV production later in 2022, Scott Bell, GM’s Managing Director and President in Canada, said in the presentation.
The plant will start construction immediately and will provide 200 jobs right off the bat. GM hopes to have the facility fully operational by 2025, which would be ideal considering the company’s lofty EV production expectations. In June, GM said it would increase its EV investment by 75 percent, from $20 billion to $35 billion. The increase in investment would be used to accelerate Ultium cell production in the U.S., commercialize Ultium batteries and HYDROTEC fuel cells, expand the rollout of EVs for fleet customers, and deploy effective self-driving technology at scale.
“There is a strong and growing conviction among our employees, customers, dealers, suppliers, unions, and investors, as well as policymakers, that electric vehicles and self-driving technology are the keys to a cleaner, safer world for all,” GM CEO Mary Barra said after the investment increase was announced.
GM currently has the Chevrolet Bolt EV and GMC Hummer EV available to customers, although the Bolt has combated battery cell malfunctions for some time. GM will also release the Chevrolet Silverado EV sometime next year, the automaker’s second all-electric pickup.
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