Employing around 10,000 people, with the potential to power 700,000 electric cars on an annual basis – LG Energy Solution Wroclaw is home to the biggest battery manufacturing site in Europe.
LG Energy Solution (LGES) is a manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), mobility, IT and energy storage systems, with a chain of factories around the world. Despite a global economic slowdown this year, the company recently noted record-breaking financial figures. In the third quarter of 2022, LG Energy Solution saw over 5.5 billion euros in revenue and over 380 million euros in operating profit – with increased EV battery demand in the EU and North America as a key driver of the growth.
On the heels of this year’s Hungarian Battery Day in Budapest, our team visited LGES’s site in southwestern Poland, gaining a first-hand experience of the heart of the European EV sector and insights into its role in shaping the future global EV automotive industry.
Accelerating Global EV Education with LG Learning Center
In many ways, the size of the factory draws closer parallels with a small yet growing city rather than an industrial site – with a medical centre, learning and educational facilities, sports hubs and even fire bridges available on site, on a permanent basis.
What caught our attention, in particular, was the factory’s Learning Center – a “global training hub”, dedicated to training the company’s employees in both Poland and other LG Energy Solution sites around the world. As part of its operations, the centre’s specialised training is strengthened by close cooperation with automotive manufacturers – including joint venture deals with General Motors Stellantis, Honda and Volkswagen.
As LG Energy Solution Wroclaw tell us, the Learning Center is currently supporting staff development for a plant that is being built in the United States. As part of this undertaking, the Learning Center is hosting US engineers from Ultium Cells (ES&GM) from Tennessee throughout this month (November).
The Learning Center itself consists of a technical training room, as well as four simulators for training production processes. The types of training at the centre vary from onboarding of new employees, and soft skills development workshops – to engineering, technical, operator or managerial courses.
The EV industry amidst an energy crisis
Subsequently, we participated in a Q&A session with the factory’s experts and management board members. Indeed, the energy crisis facing companies today took centre stage during discussions. Interestingly, we heard that whilst LG Energy Solution is a significant electricity and gas consumer, its energy consumption in producing the final product is relatively small, in comparison to other energy-intensive enterprises. More specifically, its gas consumption is predominantly used in heating technology. Looking forward, it was said that a long-term energy plan for the factory is currently being developed. In terms of the possibility of implementing renewable energy as the factory’s main power source in the future – it was said that such an option is currently considered to be “infeasible”.
Regarding the company’s future growth in the industry, it was underlined that LG Energy Solution invests “a lot” in research and development, however, no specific figures and/or percentages were presented. Separately, the company gave an impression of a strong “client-centred” approach when discussing industry-specific topics. On the question of whether modules or packs are more popular (for the factory) in terms of demand: the factory’s Business Support Director, Mr Yong Girl Lee said that clients pick one or both, depending on the technology. Asking about the future of the battery industry – in particular, whether heavy or light batteries will dominate the market – the Director said that this is predominantly contingent on the client’s needs.
During our visit, we held separate interviews with Mr Yong Girl Lee and the President of the LGES Wrocław, Jangha Lee. Our discussions unpacked the importance of the site’s Learning Center, the importance of up-skilling/re-skilling employees, LGES’s sustainability strategy, the impact of supply-chain disruptions, as well as the opportunities and challenges on the horizon for the emerging battery industry.
The full interviews are available now in our first-ever e-book, which also comes with exclusive news and analyses of the EV sector in the region.