LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Lordstown’s Ultium Cells plant is up and running. It’s not at full capacity but they are making batteries for electric vehicles. We learned all of that today after Ohio’s governor and lieutenant governor toured the plant.
The news media was not allowed to be part of the governor’s tour on Wednesday. We were limited to the outside, where the South Korean flag flies just under the American flag.
Just inside the main entrance, Vice President of Operations Tom Gallagher confirmed batteries are now being made and shipped. About 20 percent of the plant is operating.
“We are really entering the early phase of the start of production. So we have a portion of our capacity installed and are preparing to begin to support our customers with cells,” he said.
“It’s really not an automotive plant. It’s really high-tech,” said Governor Mike DeWine.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more high-tech automated process,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted.
DeWine and Husted held a news conference after the tour, and pictures were released of them inside the plant, dressed in attire to keep the plant clean. Husted described what they saw.
“It’s the making of the cells and the process of putting them all together and the process of the coatings and how they all come together,” Husted said.
“But when you walk in here and see how big this is and what the production is going to be, the production is going to be just phenomenal,” DeWine said.
A video played in the lobby, showing the enormity of the plant and a demonstration of how the batteries are made and placed in vehicles. Some of the 800 people working at the plant would occasionally walk by. At peak production, it’s expected to employ in excess of 1,100.
“Every day we have more than 200 people in a training process. Simulators all the way through line running. So all phases of the process run every day,” Gallagher said.
“But to see it in person is, it’s really quite amazing,” DeWine said.