General Motors announced on Thursday a joint venture with LG Chem, a subsidiary of LG Corporation, to create a new manufacturing plant in Lordstown to build high-performing batteries for its fleet of electric vehicles.
The new project is expected to bring 1,100 new jobs to the Mahoning Valley, which saw the closure of the Chevy Cruze plant in Lordstown earlier this year.
The plan is to mass produce lithium-ion battery cells to scale production in an effort to make electric vehicles more profitable and affordable. GM says the team-up brings together two leaders in battery science which can produce advanced technology batteries and ultimately reduce battery costs.
More than 1,200 workers were employed at the Chevy Cruze plant when it closed. GM CEO Mary Barra wouldn’t say if those former Lordstown workers might receive priority hiring.
"This will be a joint venture so it's a joint entity and so that will have to be worked through but clearly we want to tap into the great workforce that's in Ohio," said Barra.
Barra added that every employee at the Lordstown plant was offered a job within GM. Many former Lordstown workers transferred to other plants.
Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted say they have made creating economic opportunity in Lordstown a priority. The two made a trip to Detroit to visit Barra soon after taking office.
Husted says this new plant will help the Lordstown area economically and psychologically.
"This is more than just 1,100 jobs that will be created at this facility. It's an investment in the future that can create many more jobs," says Husted.
He adds that this new plant tells the country that Ohio can be a major player in the electric vehicle industry. Husted says this will create an infrastructure for future economic opportunities in the field.
"Ohio did not have a major facility connected to the future of electronic vehicles. These battery cells are the foundation of electronic vehicles and they will be built in Ohio," says Husted.
Other Ohio lawmakers in the region celebrated the announcement.
"This significant investment, along with the announcement by Lordstown Motors to build electric trucks at the former GM plant, marks a new chapter in manufacturing for the Valley. Not only does this new venture show that the Valley is open for business, but that we are a leader in developing cutting edge technology," said state Sen. Sean O'Brien (D-Bazetta) in a written statement.
State Sen. Michael Rulli (R-Salem) says northeast Ohio is on the rise after rebounding from tough times.
"This is an important milestone that shows Ohio's policies are working, and I appreciate the hard work and dedication of our state and local leaders," Rulli said in a statement.
Husted said JobsOhio, the state's non-profit jobs development company, proposed incentives that helped Ohio compete with other states vying to host the new battery manufacturing plant. There are three potential sites up for consideration in Lordstown. Details on the incentive package will be released when a location is finalized.