Sunrise brief: LG plans massive U.S. investment in battery production for EVs and energy storage


LG Energy Solution said that it plans to invest more than $4.5 billion over the next four years to expand its battery production capacity in the U.S. by 70 GWh. The expansion will give the company a total production capacity of more than 110 GWh in the U.S.

In addition to a new battery facility, the company and automaker GM are discussing plans to build a second joint venture plant in the U.S.

LG Energy Solution invested $600 million to build a 5 GWh capacity plant in Michigan in 2012. Two years ago, it formed a joint venture with GM to build a $2.3 billion battery plant in Ohio. That facility is slated for completion in 2022 and will have an annual production capacity of 35 GWh.

The latest proposed plant will produce pouch cell batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems, as well as cylindrical cell EV batteries. The company said it will select two candidate sites for the new plant later this year before making its final pick.

Private label deal for Electriq Power

Home energy storage company Electriq Power said it signed a three-year private label deal valued at up to $200 million for its PowerPod home energy storage systems. The deal was with an unnamed U.S.-based power generation systems and equipment manufacturer.

Under the agreement, California-based Electriq Power will supply home energy storage devices for distribution and sales by the customer in North America and the Caribbean, beginning in the second quarter. Electriq also will provide system integration, product packaging, testing and certifications, communications, firmware, software portals, a network operations center, and associated user apps.

Electriq Power’s technology includes a lithium-iron-phosphate battery, hybrid battery/solar inverter, home energy management system, and an energy consumption meter. The system offers backup power as well as a smart home energy software app to manage electricity use.

DOE funds automated vehicle research

The U.S. Department of Energy announced $18 million in funding for four projects aimed at helping passenger vehicles operate more efficiently and reduce energy consumption. The funding is part of Phase II of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E) Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program.

Phase I involved 10 teams that shared $32 million in funding. That phase focused on connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies for use in all vehicle classes with the goal of enabling a 20% reduction in energy consumption. Teams that moved on to Phase II will focus on light-duty passenger vehicles, achieving a 30% reduction in energy consumption, and enabling vehicles to reach Level 4 automation, in which a vehicle handles all driving operations on its own with optional human override.

The four teams tapped for Phase II funding are:

  • The University of California Berkeley: UC Berkeley will adapt and expand its eco-route, eco-drive, and eco-charge controls to leverage connectivity and Level 4 automation to generate additional efficiency benefits in electrified vehicles. Award amount is $3.47 million.
  • Michigan Technical University: MTU will expand its set of test vehicles, leveraging connectivity and Level 4 automation technologies to identify additional opportunities for efficiency and range optimization. Award amount is $4.5 million.
  • Ohio State University: OSU will integrate advanced system-level optimization and control technologies for a PHEV with Level 4 automation, working to improve energy efficiency by more than 30%. Award amount is $4.93 million.
  • Southwest Research Institute: SwRI will adapt and expand its predictive eco-routing, eco-driving, and hybrid power control strategies using vehicles with L4 automation. Award amount is $5.25 million.

Additional funding will be provided later for demonstration and testing activities.

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