Honda/LG break ground on battery plant

Project will create 2,400 building trades jobs 

The third megaproject in the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council jurisdiction has started, as Honda and LG Energy Solutions held the official groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 28 for the joint venture’s electrical vehicle (EV) battery plant.

Located in the Fayette County township of Jeffersonville, the $3.5 billion megaproject is the second largest private sector construction job in the history of Ohio. According to Mike Knisley, Secretary-Treasurer of the Ohio State Building and Construction Trades Council, the project will create roughly 2,400 union construction jobs from Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trade Council Affiliated Local Unions.

Over the course of the next 22 months, members of the building trades, working under a Project Labor Agreement, will construct the heart of Honda’s new North American EV hub in Central Ohio. 

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Honda Motor Co. President and CEO Toshihiro Mibe said the decision to create an EV hub by reinvesting in Ohio was based on Honda’s strong foundation in the Buckeye State.

Dorsey Hager, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the C/COBCTC, credited the relationship between Ohio’s building trades and Honda as the key to securing a PLA on the mega project.

“It showed our special relationship over the last 40 years,” he said.

Members of the building trades built Honda’s three Ohio plants under PLAs and have performed maintenance, retooled or expanded those plants under other PLAs.

“We want to show our appreciation to the owner for their trust, especially Honda Executive Vice Presidents Bob Nelson and Darin Vojin. They were instrumental in working with Dorsey and I to get the PLA,” added Knisley.

Building trades members will be tasked to construct a massive facility on an accelerated timeline. Joint-venture company CEO Robert H. Lee said the roughly 2 million-square-foot building, once complete, could hold 78 football fields under its roof. He added that the project will require roughly 200 miles of structural steel. 

Based on the initial project timeline, the plant will begin mass production of pouch-type lithium-ion batteries by the end of 2025.

Joint-venture company CEO Robert H. Lee (left) and Rick Riggle, JC company COO (right), unveil the design  of the new $3.5 billion Honda/LG EV Battery Plant. Work on the project will be performed under a PLA by affilaited C/COBCTC members.

Joint-venture company CEO Robert H. Lee (left) and Rick Riggle, JC company COO (right), unveil the design of the new $3.5 billion Honda/LG EV Battery Plant. Work on the project will be performed under a PLA by affilaited C/COBCTC members.

Vojin specifically addressed the construction phase.

“We wanted the best in the business to design and build this facility,” he said. “Our expert construction team will guarantee the project is built safely and delivered on time and on budget.”

“To the thousands of highly skilled construction workers, we want you to work safely and know that we respect you as experts in your field. Show the world your world-class craftsmanship,” he added.

Both Hager and Knisley acknowledged union travelers will play a role in this project, as it is the third mega project in Central Ohio to begin in the past 18 months following The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Tower and Intel. Additionally, there are multiple datacenter projects valued at over $500 million, plus other megaprojects in the Great Lakes region. With all the work, skilled union construction workers will be at a premium.

“This is an incredibly important project and great for Southwest Ohio,” Hager said. “The job will draw construction workers from Dayton, Cincinnati and Portsmouth.”

“A lot of people think we would want to wave the white flag and try not to man this project, but that’s not what we do,” said Knisley. “Building trades members never say no to work. Thousands of tradesmen and tradeswomen are up to the challenges of manning these projects.” 

Besides work on the Jeffersonville facility, Honda also announced plans to invest about $700 million to re-tool its three existing Ohio production facilities. At this time, the exact investment in the East Liberty, Marysville and Anna plants is still being determined.

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