Korean firm considers hybrid vehicle battery production in Holland


    LG Chem, a Korean company that makes lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles, has been in talks with Holland city officials about locating a plant there.

    “It’s a very similar type of proposal” to the one Holland got from Johnson Controls-Saft, which is now opening a hybrid electric vehicle battery plant there, according to Assistant Holland City Manager Greg Robinson.

    “We’re optimistic they’ll locate here in Holland, but we have not received the official word from the company yet,” he said last week.

    Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm announced in April that LG Chem, in partnership with its U.S. subsidiary Compact Power and General Motors, had a plan to produce lithium-ion battery cells in Michigan. The MEGA board approved a state tax credit for LG Chem/Compact Power valued at $25 million over 15 years and a battery cell state tax credit valued at $100 million over four years, to induce the company to locate the plant in Michigan.

    In August, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that LG Chem, through Compact Power in Troy, Mich., had received a federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant through DOE’s “electric drive vehicle battery and component manufacturing initiative.” The same DOE program provided a $299 million matching ARRA grant to JCS.

    According to the DOE Web site, the grant to Compact Power “on behalf of LG Chem Ltd.,” was $151 million for projects located in St. Clair, Pontiac and Holland. The grant would support “production of lithium-ion polymer battery cells for the GM Volt.”

    LG Chem, according to Compact Power, is one of the world’s largest producers of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles. Compact Power was formed in the U.S. by LG Chem in 2000.

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