DeWine to Tour Ultium Cells Plant Today

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and JobsOhio President JP Nauseef will get an up close look Wednesday at progress underway in the Voltage Valley.

DeWine’s office announced Tuesday that the governor and his team will tour Ultium Cells LLC’s $2.3 billion electric-vehicle battery cell manufacturing plant here this afternoon.

Meanwhile, the drumbeat is getting louder over another multi-billion-dollar EV battery project potentially bound for Ohio.

Ultium, a joint venture between General Motors Co. and Korea-based LG Energy Solution, is scheduled to begin production in Lordstown soon.

The 2.8 million-square foot factory will produce battery cells for GM’s EV lineup, including the new GMC Hummer, the Cadillac Lyriq and future EVs in GM’s portfolio.

GM has said it plans to sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

GM and LG announced in late 2019 its intention to build its first Ultium plant in Lordstown, the site of GM’s former massive assembly plant, now owned by Foxconn. Two other Ultium Cells plants, one in Spring Hill, Tenn., and another in Lansing, Mich., are under construction. A fourth plant is likely to be located in northern Indiana.

DeWine’s visit to Lordstown today comes as speculation gains traction over Ohio luring another major EV battery project.

On Monday, Honda Motor Co. announced that it has formed a partnership with LG Energy and said it plans to construct a $4.4 billion EV battery plant somewhere in the United States.

Although the location of the plant was not divulged, the announcement immediately fueled speculation that Ohio is a likely candidate for the new factory.

Honda has manufactured a wide range of models from its Marysville, Ohio plant since 1982 and has built engines from its plant in Anna since 1985. The Japanese automaker also operates another factory in East Liberty, Ohio that has produced Honda and Acura vehicles since December 1989.

“Ohio’s advanced manufacturing future is bright,” DeWine said in a statement. “With automakers moving to manufacture more and more electric vehicles, we want Honda to expand its operation in Ohio. For almost 40 years, Ohio has been at the center of Honda’s North American vehicle production, and we are working with Honda and LG to ensure that they choose Ohio for this new electric battery plant.”

Honda has said that it plans to sell only electric vehicles by 2040 and wants to begin construction on the new battery plant in 2023. It plans to launch its first EV, the SUV Prologue, in 2024.

Yesterday, in a tweet that shared a Wall Street Journal article announcing the Honda project, Lt. Gov. Husted simply noted “More to come on this.”

DeWine, a Republican who was elected governor in 2018, is running for re-election in 2022 against Democrat Nan Whaley, former mayor of Dayton.

Should Ohio land the Honda project, it would be the second major economic development announcement this year.

In January, semiconductor manufacturer Intel announced it had selected the Columbus area as the site for a new $20 billion manufacturing plant. That investment, officials have said, could grow to more than $100 million, creating the largest semiconductor manufacturing operation in the world.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.