DETROIT — LG Energy Solution is swiftly expanding its North American manufacturing footprint as automakers plan a flood of electric vehicles.
Developing a skilled work force to collaborate with its global teams and partnering with automakers is key to scaling battery production, said Denise Gray, head of external affairs, government relations and North America at LG Energy Solution.
The battery maker has had a plant in Holland, Mich., for more than a decade and aims to open two plants in Arizona in 2025. The company has plans for factories in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan with General Motors. It is partnering with Honda on a plant in Ohio as well and with Stellantis on a factory in Ontario in Canada.
Gray's team is focused on the needs of those automaker customers today while also keeping an eye on the future.
She believes the R&D team should be at the table where decisions are being made so that all the discussion isn't just on what's happening today. "If you only concentrate on today, you may be obsolete tomorrow," she said.
Gray, 60, spoke with Staff Reporter Hannah Lutz at the SAE World Congress here last month. They discussed the evolution of the supply chain, transferring knowledge between the U.S. and international regions and building a U.S. work force. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: How will LG keep up with demand for EVs and batteries in North America?
A: LG has been working on batteries for over 30 years here in the United States. But the demand hasn't been here. Your return on investment didn't come for a very, very long time. Now we're shifting to, "There is demand, and demand is really aggressive." We've got to really do the right thing to invest in the right place with the right technology for customers. We're working hand in hand with them. The collaborations that we have with General Motors, with Stellantis, with Honda, with Hyundai will make LG even more capable to meet the growing demand in the most efficient way.