HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Among the dust, dirt and noise at LG Energy Solution Michigan in Holland are more than 600 contractors, busy as they work to complete construction on a new 1.7 million-square-foot facility.
The active site, towering steel beams and finished walls are indicative of the progress. Work started in spring of 2022 and organizers say it will finish on schedule in 2024.
“We are in production a year after (construction finishes) — 2025,” Roger Trabouly, the senior manager of energy engineering at LG, explained Thursday. “Together, we will have five times the total production capacity making lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.”
The massive, $1.7 billion plant is a precise build. Because of the nature of lithium-ion batteries, the production and storage facilities need to be ultra clean and maintain less than 1% humidity. LG officials say it will allow for impressive output.
“It’s a 5 gigawatt-hour plant,” Trabouly said of Plant 1. “We add in a 20 gigawatt-hour plant, combined we are 25 gigawatt hours. When we have all of these plants built up in Ohio, Tennessee, the bit of it in Arizona, we are going to have over 278 gigawatt hours. Translate that, that’s probably going to be about 2.7 million cars that we can make batteries for.”
The expansion is to meet the growing demand. Senior manager of research and development at LGESMI Mohamed Alamgir says that electric vehicle sales doubled last year from the previous year and Goldman Sachs estimates that by 2035, EVs will make up half of new car sales worldwide.
“You can see it’s rapidly growing that way, so it is pretty unforeseen numbers as the growth is concerned,” Alamgir said.
LG is working to remain a leader in EV battery production. It holds over 26,000 patents related to the technology and closed off a portion of the media tour to pictures and video to protect the technology they’ve developed.
“Why electric? Many reasons. It’s simpler to make. Electric vehicle is very, very simple,” Trabouly said. “It’s like comparing a Swiss watch to an Apple watch. One has a bunch of nice gears and springs and moving parts and the other one is just technology onto a pod.”
Trabouly added that besides the advancements LG is making in electric cars through battery production, this new facility will have an immense impact on the West Michigan community. The company is looking to add more than 1,000 new jobs on top of the more than 1,500 employees who already work at the plant.
“I have a family with a wife and two daughters. So every one family you hire, multiply that, add onto that an extra three at least, on average. So that’s the impact on the community. It’s an impact on real estate, an impact on food and impact on schools. It’s the entire community impact,” Trabouly said.
He added the company will be the largest customer of gas and electric in the area.
Since opening its doors in Holland in 2012, the company has only grown. Its annual growth was 30% last year. Trabouly and LGESMI expect the numbers to to keep trending upward.
“There’s gonna be a progression. The technology of the battery, just like the technology of the car, will keep evolving,” Trabouly said. “But it’s the future.”
Learn more about LGESMI lithium-ion production here.