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Dept. of Energy finalizes $2.5 billion loan to GM battery joint venture

Washington — The U.S. Department of Energy has finalized a $2.5 billion loan to Ultium Cells LLC, the EV battery joint venture between General Motors Co. and South Korean battery company LG Energy Solution, officials said Monday.

First announced as a "conditional commitment" in July, the loan is the Energy Department's first loan for battery cell production under its Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program.

“This loan will jumpstart the domestic battery cell production needed to reduce our reliance on other countries to meet increased demand and support President Biden’s goals of widespread EV adoption and cutting carbon pollution produced by gas-powered vehicles," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

GM also received $824.1 million in incentives for its EV and battery projects from the State of Michigan earlier this year for battery production plans. GM and LG have four planned U.S. battery plants. The only one producing battery cells for GM's EVs so far is located in Warren, Ohio.

The Ultium Cells plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, will open late next year, and it just received a $275 million investment for expansion there. A third plant is under construction in Delta Township near Lansing and will open in 2024. GM and LG are considering a site in New Carlisle, Indiana, for the location of a fourth plant.

The three finalized facilities are expected to create more than 11,000 jobs, including around 2,000 construction jobs and 1,700 operations jobs in Delta Township.

Granholm, a former Michigan governor, was in Metro Detroit Monday for a roundtable with politicians and auto industry leaders on strategies for building a "'diverse and skilled battery workforce."

Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, and Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township and United Auto Workers President Ray Curry were among those attending.

General Motors is aiming to eliminate tailpipe emissions from its new light-duty vehicles by 2035 and to make its global products and operations carbon-neutral by 2040. President Joe Biden also wants half of all new auto sales in the U.S. to be electrified by 2030.