New Korean Battery Plant In Lordstown Promises Transformation Of 'Rust Belt' To 'Voltage Valley'

Rep. Tim Ryan ( D - Niles ) joins executives from the Korean firm LG Chem at a meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss plans for a new electric vehicle battery plant in Lordstown.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D - Niles) joins executives from the South Korean firm LG Chem at a meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss plans for a new electric vehicle battery plant in Lordstown. [Michael Zetts]
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A delegation of Korean executives from LG Chem met in Washington, D.C., Wednesday with state and federal officials to lay the groundwork for a new electric vehicle battery factory in Lordstown.

Congressman Tim Ryan (D - Niles), along with Ohio lawmakers, Sen. Michael Rulli ( R - Salem) and Sen. Sean O'Brien (D - Trumbull), praised the investments being made in the Mahoning Valley by the battery maker and its partner General Motors Corp.

Together, they say the $2.3 billion investment by LG Chem and GM will help fill the void left by the shuttering of the Lordstown assembly plant in March of 2019.

O'Brien says the new battery plant, along with Lordstown Motors Corp.'s proposed electric pickup plant,  marks the transformation of the region from "Rust Belt" to "Voltage Valley."

Ryan said the LG Chem plant will employ around 1,100 workers once it’s up and running and supply batteries to a number of automakers besides GM.

He said the commitment to emerging technology is a welcome relief from the turmoil of recent years.

“The insecurity around the old GM facility drove us all crazy," Ryan said.

Rep. Tim Ryan on the stability a new Korean battery plant could bring to a hard-hit region

"So, to be at the front of a tidal wave that’s coming and tell our constituents that they’re going to get some good-paying jobs that aren’t going to go anywhere for a while,” Ryan said.

The joint venture between LG Chem and General Motors in Lordstown will be among the largest electrical vehicle battery plants in the world.

Ryan said officials are hoping to break ground on the new facility in July.

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