Holland, Mich.-based LG Chem Michigan Inc. (LGCMI) announced it plans to begin production of lithium-ion battery cells for the automotive marketplace in July 2013 and to start shipping products by the end of the summer. The company said the plant will build batteries for the Chevrolet Volt and that it expects volume to increase as the electric vehicle (EV) market grows and the company secures more contracts.

LGCMI stated it has installed three assembly lines so far. The company had originally planned to install five in its Holland facility and currently plans to complete the two unfinished lines by Sept. 2015.

Although the company plans to begin production this summer, it has so far missed its original 2012 production targets. In Oct. 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s inspector general received a complaint that LGCMI had misused some of the funds it received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in Feb. 2010 to help build its $304 million battery manufacturing plant in Holland. LGCMI released a statement in Feb. 2013 saying it acknowledged it had misapplied $842,000 of the funds to employment costs that were not allowed under the terms of the grant. The company said it reimbursed the federal government for that amount.

“We regret this situation occurred, and we are confident that we are now taking every measure to be fully compliant in our use of the project grant funding,” LGCMI said in a written statement.

In the company's most recent press release regarding its summer production plans, Sain Park, president at LGCMI, said the company is committed to creating jobs in the Holland community and supplying products to customers.

By Greg Basich