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Another piece of the puzzle starts to fall into place

General Motors will invest $43 million to create a highly automated battery facility that "will produce the lithium ion battery packs for GM's future extended-range electrical vehicles, including the Chevrolet Volt". The company will use an existing building located approximately 15 miles south of Detroit in Brownstown Township.

The factory will use lithium-ion battery cells shipped to the US from LG Chem in South Korea and assemble them into battery packs. The battery pack will be the most crucial element for the Chevrolet Volt, which is scheduled to go into production at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant late next year. GM has been testing battery packs using cells from LG Chem since August of 2006.

"The design, development and production of advanced batteries must be a core competency for GM, and we've been rapidly building our capability and resources to support this direction," stated GM's former Chairman Rick Wagoner last year.

"This is a further demonstration of our commitment to the electrification of the automobile and to the Chevrolet Volt - a commitment that now totals more than $1 billion."

The Chevy Volt, which GM claims can achive 230 mpg in city driving, is one of General Motors' most important new products as it tries to shift to electrified vehicles.

The close proximity to the Volt assembly plant was a major factor in choosing the location, as was the ease of conversion into its new role. The new facility is expected to create over 100 new jobs when it begins production next year.

LG Chem's CEO Peter Kim has previously stated that it may produce lithium-ion battery cells in Michigan if there is enough demand. That would be additional good news for Michigan, which is suffering from an unemployment rate in excess of 15 percent.





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