Tesla’s Gigafactories have a new challenger. General Motors teamed up with LG Chem to build an electric car battery factory in Lordstown, Ohio.
Ground will be broken on the new facility sometime next year. It will manufacture battery cells for GM’s electric pickup trucks that will begin production in late 2021 at another plant, according to Reuters.
The new factory will have an annual capacity of 30 gigawatt hours with the option for future expansion, which is a massive energy output.
In comparison, Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada reached 35 gigawatt hours in March 2019. But even when it was at 20 gigawatt hours in 2018, per The Verge, that was enough to produce millions of battery cells a day.
The new factory could help GM reach its target of introducing 20 electric vehicles by 2023, an aggressive goal for the company.
Not only is the $2.3 billion investment big news for the auto industry but it’s welcome relief for Lordstown, which witnessed the shuttering of its GM plant earlier in 2019 with a loss of over 1,400 jobs.
Many of those workers who lost jobs were relocated with new positions at GM, but the loss of the factory was still a giant economic hit to a region that’s already experienced massive job losses in recent years.
Those cuts, and thousands more by GM across the country, led to the first workers strike at GM in decades and a backlash against President Donald Trump, who had promised to bring economic life to the area.
In a bit of a twist, while GM will build a new factory to produce these EV batteries, last month it sold its shuttered plant to Lordstown Motors, a start-up that hopes to use the plant to produce electric pickup trucks.
It all adds up to a ray of hope for the Mahoning Valley area, where Youngstown and Lordstown sit, as manufacturing finally turns toward an electric, sustainable future.