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GM gets site approval for plant

Concrete pouring for $2B project to begin in June

LORDSTOWN — Now possessing the last permit General Motors needed to start building its next-generation battery-cell manufacturing plant, pouring concrete for the massive complex is expected to begin next month.

Site plan approval from Lordtown’s planning commission was the final permit needed. It locates buildings on the Tod Avenue SW site, and sizes road and parking lots, among other things.

“We appreciate the continued support from the Lordstown community leaders,” GM spokesman Dan Flores said. “This approval is the next step forward in our commitment to invest more than $2 billion to build a world-class battery-cell manufacturing plant in Lordstown.”

“The project continues to move full speed ahead,” Flores said.

The planning commission gave its approval Monday.

The facility is expected to start production in early 2022. When it’s operational, GM plans for it to be a major factor in its all-electric future with cells made there used in packs that will power 11 of 13 vehicles GM plans for the next five years.

Already, GM revealed the Cruise Origin, an autonomous electric vehicle that will contain Lordstown-made cells, in San Francisco. Also, production remains on track for two other electric vehicles that with the Ultium battery system, the yet-to-be-revealed Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV.

The cells also will be used in packs in two new electric vehicles GM and Honda are developing jointly for the Japanese automaker.

GM said its new Ultium batteries are unique in the industry because the large-format, pouch-style cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. This allows engineers to optimize battery energy storage and layout for each vehicle design.

The building stands to be about 3.1 million square feet and is estimated to cost about $2.25 billion. It is on 158 acres of land adjacent to GM’s former automaking plant that closed in March 2019.

Although GM has taken the lead with the permitting process, Ultium Cells LLC is a joint venture with South Korea’s LG. It previously had the working name GigaPower LLC.

The plant will employ upward of 1,000 people, officials said.

rselak@tribtoday.com

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