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LG opens its first US EV charging factory in Texas

LG Electronics has opened its first electric vehicle (EV) charger facility outside of South Korea -- in Fort Worth, Texas -- to capture a share of North America's competitive EV charging market.

Its new EV charging station factory, spanning 59,202 square feet, has the capacity to produce more than 10,000 chargers per year, LG said in the company's statement Monday. LG has started manufacturing 11-kilowatt EV chargers in Texas. It will initiate assembling chargers with a capacity of 175 kilowatts in the first half of this year and 350 kilowatts later this year.

The move follows LG CEO William Cho's ongoing commitment to "electrification" as a primary driver for mid and long-term growth, with a goal of $79 billion in sales by 2030, up from $51.4 billion in 2022.

That can't come soon enough. LG estimated this month that its full-year revenues in 2023 for LG Electronics, its biggest division, will be KRW 84 trillion (around $63.6 billion at today's rates), but that's largely flat on 2022's revenues of KRW 83.5 trillion.

With high-profile, but ultimately declining, businesses like mobile phones now in its past (the company pulled out of the phone business in 2021) LG has been searching for new business opportunities in areas such as EV charging and digital healthcare.

LG believes that the U.S. EV market, and tapping into the rising demand for EV chargers in the U.S., could be a lucrative bet.

The U.S. had more than 165,000 public EV charging ports as of December 2023. U.S. President Biden aims to build at least 500,000 public chargers by 2030.

Yet it's not all smooth sailing. As the White House pointed out last month, the market growth of charging networks has been constrained by a classic chicken-and-egg scenario: The lower purchasing rates of electric vehicles has been due in part to buyers being concerned about a lack of charging points -- but charging points are slow to be rolled out because demand is not high enough.

Meanwhile, there remains a perennial problem with the charging points that are set up already: Many of them just don't work, or don't work on the system that your particular car might use.

Yet having the government supporting the bigger efforts has given LG the nod of encouragement that it needs.

"By establishing our EV charger production factory in Texas, we will be able to actively respond to the rapidly growing demand for EV infrastructure in the U.S.," said Jang Ik-hwan, the LG Business Solution Company president.

LG decided to set up its first EV charger factory in Texas for some strategic reasons, it said. The state offers the benefits of utilizing existing facilities coupled with logistics and transportation networks, according to LG.

The company, which has been developing EV chargers since 2018, acquired HiEV Charger, formerly AppleMango, a South Korean EV battery charger maker, in 2022 to bolster the EV charging business and manufacture EV chargers in its home country.