Tesla, Ford and GM’s plan to unlock EV battery capacity

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Panasonic will set up an EV battery factory in Kansas. It’s the latest in a long list of planned battery factories in North America.

David Becker/Getty Images

Lithium batteries are the new oil, according to

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CEO Elon Musk and the domestic auto industry are seeking a bigger slice of that market share.

It starts with building lithium-ion batteries – the kind that power electric vehicles – in the United States

Currently, most batteries are made in Asia. China

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co.

(ticker: 300750.China), better known as CATL, manufactures around 30% of the world’s electric vehicle batteries, according to

Ford engine

(F) CEO Jim Farley.

Farley and the rest of the domestic auto industry are working to bring production back to the United States

Ford is building three battery facilities in Tennessee and Kentucky with a partner

SK Innovation

(096770.Korea). Ford this week closed the joint venture with SK, which is responsible for building and operating these plants, which will start up around 2025.

SK also builds battery facilities in Georgia. The company opened a facility in early 2019. A second plant has been announced in 2020. The combined capacity of these plants is expected to be approximately 22 gigawatt hours of annual battery capacity, depending on the company.

The Ford and SK facilities will produce up to 130 gigawatt hours of batteries per year. This is enough to manufacture around 1.5 to 2 million electric vehicles per year.

General Motors

(GM) has also planned three factories in the United States. It builds capacity with a partner

LG Chemistry

(051810.Korea). These three facilities are expected to produce approximately 110 gigawatt hours of batteries each year. The start-up of the three plants should take place in 2022, 2023 and 2025.

GM opened a plant in Ohio in 2020. The company announced a factory for Springhill, Tennessee back in 2021and this facility is expected to open in 2023. In early March of this year, GM and

LG

announced its intention to invest $1.7 billion in Michigan to quintuple the production capacity of a Michigan plant.

ParentChrysler

Stellantide

(STLA) has planned two factories, including one in Ontario that is expected to produce about 80 gigawatt hours of batteries each year. Ontario plant set to start in 2024depending on the company.

LG Chemistry

is

Stellantide

‘ partner for this plant.

Samsung SDI

(006400.Korea) is partnered with a factory announced in March 2022. A location has yet to be selected, but production is planned for 2025according to Stellantis.

A few more battery factories are planned for Canada. Britishvolt announced a 60 gigawatt-hour plant in October 2021. StormVolt announced another plant for Quebec, also in October 2021. The start dates for these two plants are not known.

And more than Detroit’s traditional three provide for American capability.

In December,

Toyota engine

(MC) selected North Carolina for its battery manufacturing plant in the United States. Toyota said it would produce enough batteries to power about 1.2 million electric vehicles a year. This puts the plant in the 90 gigawatt-hour range.

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(TSLA), of course, is the leader in electric batteries. He buys batteries and makes his own. Its estimated capacity already exceeds around 100 gigawatt hours. He plans to multiply that by 30 by the end of the decade. (Tesla also needs batteries for its energy storage business.)

Tesla’s goals, however, are a bit vague, and the company doesn’t typically issue press releases detailing its capital spending plans. The 3,000 gigawatt-hour target is likely the automaker’s annual demand and not just what it plans to do. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

Tesla’s first battery factory in Nevada was built with a partner

panasonic

(6752.Japan). Wednesday,

panasonic

announcement he would build a battery factory in Kansas that would employ about 4,000 people.

panasonic said Barrons the ultimate size of the factory has not been decided.

Excluding Tesla’s ambitions, the announced plans total nearly 600 gigawatt hours of battery capacity. It will likely cost between $50 billion and $60 billion to build and supply enough juice to manufacture, very roughly, eight million electric vehicles a year.

That’s enough for about 50% of new car sales in the United States to be all-electric. Plus, all of that capability should be there by the middle of the decade.

After battery capacity, automakers may want to think about the battery supply chain. Other materials, such as nickel and cobalt, come from other countries. And today, these materials are processed, mainly, in Asia.

This is the next problem to solve for the energy independence of the new era. For now, the industry is moving one step at a time.

Write to Al Root at [email protected]

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