Honda plant breaks ground


JEFFERSONVILLE — “For years, people would talk about the mega-site and and say, ‘someday, something big will come here,’ not knowing when or what that would be. Well, that someday is today. Honda LG, welcome to our community.” — Jefferson Township Trustee Jeff Hoppes.

Hoppes’ sentiment has been a familiar refrain around the community over the past 20 years — since the time Fayette County was a finalist for a Honda plant before ultimately losing it to Indiana. But on Tuesday afternoon, the wait came to an end as Honda and LG Energy Solution held an official groundbreaking ceremony for a new joint venture EV battery plant over 2 million square feet in size at the county’s mega-site.

The two companies have committed to invest $3.5 billion in the new joint venture (JV) facility, with their overall investment projected to reach $4.4 billion. The plant — which will be constructed just west of Ohio 729 and south of I-71 in Jefferson Township — is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024, with plans to create 2,200 jobs. The plant aims for approximately 40 giggawat-hours, or “GWh” of annual production capacity.

The location of the joint venture between Honda and LGES was announced Oct. 11 and was formally established on Jan. 12. The plant aims to start mass production of pouch-type lithium-ion batteries by the end of 2025, to be provided exclusively to Honda auto plants to produce EVs to be sold in North America.

The plant’s address is 9768 Milledgeville-Jeffersonville Road, Jeffersonville.

“Jefferson Township is excited for not only what Honda LG is in the process of bringing, but what the future holds for the rest of the mega-site and surrounding area,” Hoppes said during the groundbreaking ceremony.

Hoppes was one of many local officials at Tuesday’s ceremony, which also included Toshihiro Mibe, president and CEO of Honda Motor Company; Dong-Myung Kim, president and head of the Advanced Automotive Battery Division of LG Energy Solution, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted; and many other state government officials.

DeWine said Tuesday was a great day for Fayette County and for the state of Ohio.

“There’s no greater agriculture county in the state of Ohio than Fayette County,” DeWine said. “What some people miss I think is that this is also a diverse county. And this partnership and what’s being built here today continues to add to that diversity. Imagine on this site an investment of $3.5 billion dollars, 2,200 employees coming here every day. Those of us who are very familiar with Fayette County, it just kind of boggles the mind. It’s an amazing thing.”

During the ceremony, the leaders of the new joint venture company, CEO Robert H. Lee and COO Rick Riggle revealed a rendering of the new facility.

“It is an honor to represent two great corporations, Honda and LG Energy Solution, both with a long, proud history of success. LG Energy Solution is the leading battery manufacturer globally and is investing aggressively to meet demand for electrification. We are excited to embark on this partnership with Honda, a leader in the global auto industry with a reputation for quality and reliability,” said Lee. “If we harness these strengths, I have no doubt our joint venture will be the most successful battery plant in the world, and we look forward to being a part of this massive transformation toward sustainability.”

“We have talked a lot about the partnership between Honda and LG Energy Solution, but the communities of southern Ohio are a part of this venture, too, and we see it not so much as a joint venture, but a tri-venture between our companies and the community,” said Riggle. “We share similar values and perspectives regarding the relationship we want to have with our new workforce, and this spirit of teamwork will be key to our success.”

Honda Development & Manufacturing of America LLC paid $23,268,935 to Martin Land Co. on Nov. 7 for 454 acres. The land surrounds Bluegrass Farms of Ohio’s soybean processing plant.

“As we were preparing for this day, I reflected on some of the first meetings we had in this area as our team was considering the potential for this site to be called our home,” said Darin Vojin, vice president, chief engineer and project leader of the Honda battery plant project. “Specifically, one of those meetings was with the head of the county engineering office, Mr. Steve Luebbe, and another meeting was with the representative landowner, Mr. Dave Martin. In these two separate meetings, the teams set out to really understand, does Jeffersonville want us to call this home? From those meetings we learned that they do and the history of this area. Those conversations served as a guiding light for our team to make the very important decision to call this home. And I’m also happy to say that the same conversations continue to act as a guiding light for our entire team on how we need to ensure that we continue to respect the history of this local area.”

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