GM and Korean chemicals company Posco have announced plans to construct a new $500 million battery materials plant in Quebec.
The new facility, which will be built in Bécancour, Quebec at an estimated cost of US $400 million, will produce cathode active material for GM’s Ultium lithium-ion batteries and will open in the 2024 calendar year.
Cathode Active Material, or CAM, is a critical battery component that makes up roughly 40 percent of the cost of an EV battery cell. GM first announced its manufacturing joint venture with Posco last December, at the time laying out plans to construct a new CAM processing facility at an undisclosed location in North America.
GM and POSCO Chemical have signed a non-binding term sheet to create the new joint venture and “expect to execute definitive agreements soon,” the two companies said in a prepared statement released Monday.
Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, said GM and Posco will receive support from the Quebec provincial and Canadian federal governments to set up the new CAM processing site.
“GM and our supplier partners are creating a new, more secure and more sustainable ecosystem for EVs, built on a foundation of North American resources, technology and manufacturing expertise,” Parks said. “Canada is playing an important role in our all-electric future, and we are grateful for the strong support we have received from local, provincial and national officials to grow a North American-focused EV value chain.”
GM entered a joint venture agreement with Korean battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution in 2020, creating the new Ultium Cells LLC entity, which will operate various GM-LG battery cell plants in North America. With this move, GM is bringing yet another aspect of the battery manufacturing process in-house, allowing it to send processed CAM to its own Ultium Cells plants. Battery cells would then be sent to GM’s own battery assembly sites before being installed in its vehicles.
Some of the other strategic partners that will supply parts and materials for future GM EVs include MP Materials (rare earth magnets), VAC (magnet factory), General Electric (rare earth and other materials), Wolfspeed (silicon carbide), and Controlled Thermal Resources (lithium).
The vast majority of future GM EVs will utilize Ultium battery cells with Posco-processed cathode material, including the GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq, Chevy Silverado EV and Cruise Origin robotaxi. GM is currently constructing three separate Ultium battery cells plants in North America, including one in Lordstown, Ohio, one in Spring Hill, Tennessee and one in Lansing, Michigan. A fourth Ultium Cells site is expected to be announced in the near future, as well.