Posted: April 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm
South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. tells reporters in Seoul it will begin pilot-level output in July or August of lithium-ion polymer cells at its never-used $304 million battery plant in Holland, Mich.
Cho Suk-jeh, LG Chem’s chief financial officer, says the Michigan plant will “soon commence operation,” even though the company expects to post a loss on its car battery business this year.
The Michigan plant was built with the help of a $151 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy. It was supposed to open last year as a 650,000 sq.-ft. factory with capacity to supply cells for as many as 200,000 vehicles per year.
ut an analysis issued last month by DOE’s Office of Inspector General said LG Chem constructed only about 60% of the planned capacity and has never made commercial grade cells there.
The report also estimates the facility was wrongly reimbursed by DOE for paying $842,000 to employees who spent the work day watching movies, playing games and doing volunteer work.