LG Electronics Inc. has taken a significant step in the electric vehicle (EV) industry by launching its first EV charger factory outside South Korea. The facility, located in Fort Worth, Texas, is poised to cater to the growing demand in the North American market. This move reflects LG’s commitment to becoming a global leader in EV charging solutions.
Repurposing a Key Facility
LG has reutilized a 100,000-square-foot facility with the capacity to produce 12,000 chargers annually. Michael Kosla, Senior Vice President of Sales at LG Business Solutions US, provided insights into the company’s strategy. LG plans to collaborate with charging station operators to distribute its machines, with a particular focus on leveraging the Biden administration’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program.
Having been manufacturing chargers in South Korea for approximately a year, LG now sets its sights on the North American market. The company aims to capitalize on the increasing popularity of electric vehicles in the region, aligning its goals with President Joe Biden’s vision of having at least 500,000 public chargers on US roads by 2030.
LG Electronics: The Impact of NEVI Program
LG anticipates significant benefits from the NEVI program, which allocates funding to charging station operators for expanding the national network of public EV chargers in the US. Michael Kosla highlighted the strategic importance of the NEVI program, stating that LG already has letters of intent for thousands of unit sales. The company’s targeted approach aligns with the broader initiative to promote EV infrastructure development.
Initially, LG will manufacture Level 2 chargers with an 11-kilowatt capacity, supporting both Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) and the Combined Charging System (CSS). In the spring, the company plans to introduce Level 3 fast chargers with a 175-kilowatt capacity, followed by 350-kilowatt fast chargers later in the year. Compliance with NEVI rules mandates that fast-charging stations receiving federal funding must have a CCS plug.
As EV adoption gains momentum in the US, the competition for fast-charging infrastructure intensifies. Seven major automakers, which include General Motors and Stellantis, have joined forces to install over 30,000 fast chargers across North America. Additionally, automakers like GM, Ford, Rivian, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz are making their EVs congenial with Tesla’s charging infrastructure, presenting a dynamic and competitive market landscape.
LG Electronics: Confidence in Competition
Despite Tesla’s established network of over 20,000 Superchargers in the US, LG is confident in its ability to compete effectively. Michael Kosla expressed optimism about LG’s competitive position, asserting that the company believes it will fare well against Tesla and other players in the fast-charging segment.
Industry Challenges and Future Outlook
The growth of EV charging infrastructure faces challenges, including a slowdown in US EV sales growth and unforeseen obstacles in public charging installations. Analysts project that these challenges could impact the bottom line for charging companies, including industry players like ChargePoint, EVgo Inc., and Blink Charging Co., throughout 2024.
LG Electronics’ entry into the US EV charging market marks a significant milestone for the company and the broader industry. As the EV landscape evolves, LG’s strategic positioning, collaboration with charging station operators, and adherence to federal initiatives like the NEVI program will likely play a key part in shaping the future of EV charging infrastructure in North America.