For the time being, the construction boom continues in nonunion plants.
Ultium Cells LLC is building two other battery plants, in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and Lansing, Michigan, at a cost of $2.6 billion each. Both will employ seventeen hundred workers and produce pouch-style cell packets. GM has announced a fourth joint venture, this time with South Korea’s Samsung SDI, making both prismatic and cylindrical cell packets.
For its part, Ford created a joint venture (JV) with South Korea SK On. BlueOval SK is building two plants in Kentucky at a cost of $5.8 billion and hiring five thousand workers. A third plant will be put up in BlueOval City, next to where Ford assembles an electric truck. That facility is projected to have twenty-five hundred workers with a total $5.6 billion investment for the entire complex. Finally, at a cost of $1.34 billion, Ford is reconfiguring its Oakville, Canada, assembly plant to package battery cells from a Kentucky plant.
The three US plants received a $9.2 billion loan from the Department of Energy, the largest loan a federal agency has approved to date for battery manufacture. The deal provides superior repayment terms, including debt forgiveness if the project doesn’t pan out. But there were no provisions for workers.
Nonunion companies are also getting in on the EV facility boomlet. Tesla plans to expand to a lithium refinery in Texas and produce battery cells, packs, and modules in California and Texas. Other companies investing in battery plants include BMW (South Carolina), Honda (Ohio), Hyundai (Georgia), Mercedes-Benz (Alabama), Toyota (North Carolina), Volkswagen (Ontario, Canada), and Volvo (South Carolina).