With more automakers lining up to buy lots of batteries for electric cars, leading battery supplier LG Chem is planning to build a second battery factory in the U.S., according to a Reuters report citing three people familiar with the matter.
The company is considering sites in Kentucky and Tennessee among other locations.
LG Chem already operates a battery assembly facility in Holland, Michigan, which supplies batteries to GM for the Chevy Bolt EV. The new factory would supply Volvo, Fiat Chrysler, and potentially Hyundai and Volkswagen—plus additional batteries to GM.
LG already supplies batteries to Volkswagen in Europe and has been involved in disputes with the automaker over prices and supplies. Its Korean rival, SK Innovation, is building a new factory in Georgia to supply cells to Volkswagen, for locally produced MEB electric vehicles, and Mercedes-Benz, for its new EQC that is expected to go into production in Alabama next year.
SKI was sued by LG Chem in May, with LG alleging that SKI stole battery trade secrets by hiring several of its former employees, and seeking an injunction against SKI selling the batteries. The court has not yet ruled on the case.
Amid dramatic growth in electric-car production, automakers are starting to face supply shortages and price increases in EV batteries, and the U.S. has put raw materials for lithium batteries on the list of critical materials to develop more domestic production quickly.
Today, only one lithium mine is in operation in the U.S., in northern Nevada. Another has been granted exploratory permits in North Carolina.
On a trip to South Korea last month, President Trump applauded South Korean companies, including SKI, for investing in production in the U.S.