The battery factory will spur investment in a homegrown EV supply chain, including mineral extraction and refining, final assembly of batteries and EVs, and battery recycling, said Volpe.
Indeed, LG Energy is already scouting further “mines to mobility” expansion in Canada, said Denise Gray, a company spokeswoman based in suburban Detroit.
“We’ve got all the upstream supply chain that we also have to make sure we have access to,” she said. “Those are awesome opportunities for investment.”
Developing regional supply chains is key, Gray said. “From an automotive industry perspective, we always talk about just-in-time [delivery], which means having clusters of all of your partners together because you can reduce logistics costs and make sure you can manage quantities appropriately,” she said.
“We’re hoping to continue to develop supply chains, and the closer we can get it to where we are, the better.”
While the plant will initially assemble lithium-ion cells, it will be able to adapt to new battery technologies and chemistries, said Stewart.
“We’re not going to build a facility this large with LG without continuing to invest in the future, whatever it is — the best technologies for our customers in terms of best range, best cost effectiveness and best for the environment,” he said.