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LG Chem finally begins production of lithium-ion batteries in Holland

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio

A lithium-ion battery maker says it’s finally begun production at its plant in West Michigan.

President Obama’s stimulus package invested some $2 billion in advanced battery plants. Back in the summer of 2010, Mr. Obama came to Holland for the ground breaking ceremony for the new LG Chem plant. It was to eventually make lithium ion batteries for the Chevy Volt.

The plant cost roughly $300 million to build. Federal stimulus money paid for half that cost.

This spring the Department of Energy’s Inspector General released a report that concluded LG Chem wasted some of that money. The company paid employees even though they weren’t working. LG Chem paid back more than $800,000.

Now a company spokesman says LG Chem will slowly ramp up production. LG Chem expects to make its first shipment of batteries this fall.

LGCMI’s plans are on track and they have successfully completed the pre-production testing working in cooperation with their customer. The company began ramping up production in July, which will be a gradual ramp-up, with product quality as a top priority. Once manufactured, lithium ion batteries require an aging period before use, so the company anticipates making its first shipments in late September or early October.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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