LG Chem and Samsung SDI close EV battery plants in U.S.

LG Chem Ltd., South Korea’s leading chemical company, said Wednesday it has shuttered its electric vehicle battery plant in the United States due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Samsung SDI Co., a South Korean manufacturer of electric vehicle and smartphone batteries, also said it has closed its battery pack plant in Michigan.

The two plants in the state will remain closed until April 13 after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a stay-at-home order across the state to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The order took effect on Tuesday in Michigan, where more than 1,300 virus cases have been confirmed.

Currently, LG Chem has five battery plants in South Korea, China, the United States and Poland, with a combined capacity of 70 gigawatt-hours. The South Korean chemical giant plans to raise its capacity to 100 GWh, enough to supply batteries to 1.6 million electric vehicles, by the end of this year.

LG Chem supplies electric vehicle batteries to 13 of the top 20 car brands, including German automaker Volkswagen, French carmaker Renault, American auto giant General Motors and South Korea’s largest carmaker, Hyundai Motor.

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