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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see Ray Noneya has a new video up this morning of the Lordstown Battery Plant, and it looks like they are continuing to make great progress. Looks like the front of the building is nearly complete and they are now working on employee parking lots, and landscaping. All of the road base material is in all around the site Most of the loading docks are finished, and around back the chilled water system is nearly done (this is the biggest, heaviest and most important support system for the production). Battery production generates a lot of heat, which has to be removed from the building. It appears at least half the building is now connected to electrical grid power, and most of the diesel generators are no longer on site (they are however still using portable HVAC units around the building). The storm drainage system looks complete and working, now they are planting grass around the sediment ponds. In the next few weeks I expect they will finish the front of the building, employee parking lots, landscaping, and the entry structure, as UltiumCell LLC engineers and employees will start to work on installing and commissioning the battery production equipment ( GM, I am sure wants to show a finished front picture in their Q2 earnings deck on August 4th?) It looks to me like the general contractor (Barton Malow) is trying to finish their work in the next 6-8 weeks, which would be well ahead of their original schedule. Give Ray a "Like" and "Follow" on Youtube as it is nice of him to keep us updated with videos and he does not have many followers.

 

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Glad to see the apparent quick progress on the plant. Hopefully having the docks done means they have started on some of the interior finish out work. Getting the machinery inside, tweaked and retweaked will probably take awhile to finish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Glad to see the apparent quick progress on the plant. Hopefully having the docks done means they have started on some of the interior finish out work. Getting the machinery inside, tweaked and retweaked will probably take awhile to finish.
Yeah, they are fitting out the inside now with systems, once the GC is done there is a cleaning process, this plant has to be like a clean room for battery production. Starting a battery plant is a very slow painstaking process and will take most of next year, I would guess we will not see full production until early to mid 2023, you can look at GM's timeline of products releases and see how that coincides with the expected ramp of production at this factory. Cruise Origin and Hummer EV SUV coming early 2023 tells you that is when they expect to be flush with battery production (also Magna is building a factory to build the battery module boxes, and that will not be online until mid next year).

I think Hummer EV SUT First Edition batteries will come from LG's MI plant, hence the limited production run. Same with initial Lyriq production will be slow to ramp as there are just not enough battery capacity to support all the launches. GM's battery plant in Spring Hill will come online in 2023, and likely take until 2024 to ramp up. GM will make more battery plant announcements in October.

Tesla fans like to dream that a battery factory can be built fast, and hits full production right away, but that is simply not the case, it took Tesla and Panasonic from 2014 to 2020 to build and ramp Giga Nevada to full production and that production is currently about where UltiumCell1 will be (GM says 30 gWh, LG says 35 gWh) LG CEO said Lordstown will be the highest production US battery plant to his knowledge (statement made at the Spring Hill announcement), and he predicted Ultium Cell LLC will remain the largest USA producer in the forceable future. We will see, how this all shakes out in due time.
 

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I know GM plans to change the chemistry of the cells over time and we assume that the factory will be flexible enough to handle these changes relatively quickly. I wonder if GM is considering LFP which should be cheaper, but less efficient/energy dense and whether or not these factories could build that as well? Maybe not though as some of the other stuff they are working on like lower cobalt, “American” lithium mining at lower cost, lithium metal, etc may make them superfluous. Just thinking aloud here…
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know GM plans to change the chemistry of the cells over time and we assume that the factory will be flexible enough to handle these changes relatively quickly. I wonder if GM is considering LFP which should be cheaper, but less efficient/energy dense and whether or not these factories could build that as well? Maybe not though as some of the other stuff they are working on like lower cobalt, “American” lithium mining at lower cost, lithium metal, etc may make them superfluous. Just thinking aloud here…
I think GM is using LFP in China (buying from CATL), but in the USA I think they will stick with NCMA at least for now. Tesla's 4680 is also using NCMA, so they must see this a a good step for right now. LFP might be a good choice for fleet and robotaxi users like Cruise Automation as the charge cycle life is much better, and cost lower. We will have to wait and see...
 
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