A South Korean battery maker said it would quadruple its planned investment in a new factory in Arizona to meet growing demand from automakers trying to ramp up production of electric cars and trucks.
The company, LG Energy Solution, said it would invest $5.5 billion to build the manufacturing complex near Phoenix, where it plans to make batteries for electric vehicles in 2025 and for energy storage systems the following year.
LG said its decision was prompted in part by the Inflation Reduction Act, which was signed into law in August and included federal incentives for the sale and production of electric vehicles and batteries in the United States. One of the world’s largest manufacturers of electric car batteries and energy storage devices, LG’s customers include General Motors, Ford Motor, Honda and Tesla.
“We believe it is the right move at the right time to power the clean energy transition in the US,” Youngsoo Kwon, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement.
The announcement represents the latest multi-billion dollar investment by car and battery companies since President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law.
Last month, Ford said it would build a $3.5 billion battery factory in Michigan, where it would use technology and services provided by the world’s largest battery manufacturer, Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology Company Limited, known as CATL. Ford is also building battery plants in Kentucky and Tennessee with another Korean company, SK On.
In December, the Department of Energy said would lend $2.5 billion to Ultium Cells, a joint venture owned by General Motors and LG, to build battery factories in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan. Honda and LG are also investing $3.5 billion to jointly build a battery plant in Ohio.
A wave of new factories is expected to increase battery manufacturing capacity in North America tenfold between 2021 and 2030, according to a recent report from the Argonne National Laboratory.
Building batteries within the United States could help lower EV prices by lowering transportation costs and reducing reliance on China, which dominates the battery supply chain. In addition, the Biden administration is trying to encourage domestic mining and processing of battery feedstocks like lithium, as well as speed up the construction of electric vehicle chargers along highways.