According to a report from The Detroit News, the Ultium Cells plant – which is a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions – voluntarily ceased production while it evaluated its air quality systems.
“Ultium Cells is conducting stack testing pursuant to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency requirements and has contracted a third-party emissions testing company to confirm the design and performance of the activated carbon tower system that exhausts to the external environment from the degas process,” Ultium spokesperson Dallis Tripoulas stated in a prepared statement. “Until the system is validated through further testing and troubleshooting the degas process has been temporarily stopped voluntarily by the company. Ultium Cells is in compliance with applicable workplace safety requirements and is working quickly to resolve this disruption.”
As of the time of this writing, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has no involvement in this recent development. However, the federal administration does currently have four open investigations related to air quality inside the plant.
OSHA spokesperson Scott Allen stated that the agency “is working with the company to ensure that they are addressing air quality issues related to potential employee exposures. We currently have an active inspection ongoing related to this.”
Unfortunately for General Motors, this temporary lapse in Ultium battery production comes at an inconvenient time, as the all-electric 2024 Chevy Silverado EV is set to begin production at the GM Factory Zero plant (née GM Detroit-Hamtramck plant) very soon. Beyond that, the upcoming Chevy Blazer EV and Chevy Equinox EV are just on the horizon, meaning that demand for battery packs for GM electric vehicles will skyrocket in the near future.