Listen Live

NEW CARLISLE, Ind. — An electric car battery maker is thinking about building a massive new battery-making plant in northern Indiana.

Ultium Cells, LCC is a joint venture between LG Energy Solutions and General Motors to build more electric car batteries as the car industry makes a transition to making more electric vehicles. Ultium is looking to spend $2.4 billion on the new plant, making it very attractive to business leaders in St. Joseph County.

“On a daily basis, we have 18,000 people who commute (to work) outside of St. Joseph County,” said Bill Schalliol, St. Joseph County Economic Development Executive Director to county councilors on Tuesday. “So we think the opportunity to not only have people stay, St. Joe County residents stay, in the county is a huge win for the county.”

Schilliol is spearheading the effort to convince Ultium to choose a plot of land in New Carlisle for their new plant. During the St. Joseph County Council meeting councilors were considering approving a tax abatement in order to help persuade Ultium leaders.

“These are exciting opportunities,” said Ultium COO Tom Gallagher to councilors. “Great jobs. Big investment. The construction phase of the project could be as many as 2,000 jobs in constructing the plant.”

That’s on top of the 1,600 more jobs he said would be permanent in operating the plant once it’s complete. Gallagher also assured councilors that the impact on the environment would be minimal.

“But the company is in a position where they are trying to decide between us and other candidates,” Schilliol warned councilors. “That decision needs to be made here shortly in the next couple of weeks per the company…but we need to be competitive. We need to move this project forward.”

During the public comment portion of the meeting, no one spoke in opposition of the project. With that, councilors ended up approving a tax abatement that would kick into effect if Ultium decides to build in St. Joseph County. Construction would begin in 2023 if they make that decision.