GM is building a US$400m EV battery materials plant in Canada with S.Korea’s POSCO Chemical

General Motors, in a joint venture with another South Korean company, plans on building a facility to produce battery materials in Canada by 2025.
17 March 2022

GM is building a US$400m EV battery materials plant in Canada with S.Korea’s POSCO Chemical (Photo by Ethan Miller / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

  • The battery plant will produce cathode active material (CAM) for vehicle batteries in Becancour, Quebec.
  • GM plans to have the facility completed by 2025 to be able to build a million EVs in North America.
  • The plant would create some 200 jobs, according to GM.

One of America’s ‘Big Three’ car manufacturers, General Motors (GM), has a goal to have more than one million units of electric vehicle (EV) capacity in North America by 2025. To achieve that, GM has been investing heavily in the US to significantly increase battery cell and electric truck manufacturing capacity. This week, the auto giant announced a joint venture with a South Korean chemical maker to build a new battery material plant in Quebec, Canada.

GM announced on Monday that it is collaborating with South Korean POSCO Chemical alongside the governments of Canada and Quebec, to build a new factory in Bécancour that will cost about US$400 million. It will eventually feed critical battery materials to several of its US battery plants, including one to be built in Lansing. 

The battery plant in Canada will create 200 jobs and will support GM’s goal to produce light vehicles that run exclusively on electricity by 2035. The plant will precisely produce cathode active material (CAM) for vehicle batteries. For context, cathodes are the most complex and costly chemical component of an EV battery.

GM Canada’s President and Managing Director Scott Bell said during a news conference that the cathode “represents about 40% of the cost of every EV battery cell.” He also emphasized that they plan to have capacity by 2025 to build a million EVs in North America.” Canada is chosen for its rich in key materials for EV battery production – including lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel.

Basically, the CAM produced at the plant will be used to make GM’s Ultium batteries that will power the company’s EVs, such as the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC HUMMER EV and Cadillac LYRIQ. GM’s Ingersoll, Ontario, factory will launch EV production later this year, Bell said.

POSCO Chemical isn’t the first South Korean company that GM is collaborating with. In fact, GM is working with LG Energy Solution too, for three EV battery manufacturing plants in the US.  The first one is an EV plant in Ohio capable of producing 35 GWh of battery cells and the second plant is in Tennessee with 35GWh of battery production capacity. 

Their third plant together is a US$2.6 billion electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant that will be located in Lansing, Michigan.The partnerships with both the South Korean companies will allow GM to accomplish its goal to become “number one EV player by 2025”. The largest automaker in the US has set aside US$7 billion for electrification, and plans to introduce more than 30 types of EVs by 2025.