It looks like the last hand's been played at those reputed card games that not-so-busy employees at LG Chem's lithium-ion battery factory in Michigan were playing. The South Korean company is planning to start production of batteries for the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in in July, with the first batteries rolling off the factory's three assembly lines by end of summer, the Detroit Free Press reports. US Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) is using the announcement to call the partially government-backed factory a "flawed program," MLive says.

And the gentleman has a point. The factory broke ground in 2010 and about half of its $300-million cost was bankrolled by the US government. Volt battery orders came in slower than expected, though, so by last fall, many of the workers were being paid not to work, and production was at a standstill, according to a February audit by the US Department of Energy. LG Chem was ordered to repay the Feds $842,000 in funds reputedly used to pay workers who weren't doing anything productive. LG Chem admitted that the plant is taking longer than expected to actually, you know, make a battery, releasing a statement six months ago that said, "taxpayer money has not been wasted, because when the market demand justifies production, the facility will be utilized." It appears that time is almost here.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      The "gentleman" has a point on his head. A true failed program would be trying to bring democracy to Afghanistan for a trillion and a half dollars. Or, perhaps, continuing to have an economy depend on a finite resource that requires huge sums of money and the lives of soldiers to defend. No factory in the world has ever gone from zero production to full production instantaneously. If you want to be fair, you need to wait and see what happens over a reasonable time frame. If your not interested in fairness, but rather only political pandering, go ahead and call the program a failure even before it is done building.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Okay, I am disappointed that no one corrected me. The man from Michigan who finds help for his state from the federal government a concern actually did not call the program a "failed program", but rather a "flawed program". I fully expected someone to catch that. Although, I think he meant to imply a failed program even though untrue. Here is why I say that. What does flawed mean? It means it has a flaw, or it is something that is not perfect. Well, that is possibly everything that exists in the real world. There is literally nothing that is perfect. So, by saying that the program is flawed, he is saying that it is similar to nearly everthing else in the world that exists. But why would he say that? Because he knew that many would stretch it to a more negative meaning. They read flawed, but hear failed as well trained followers do. Am I so predictable?
      • 2 Years Ago
      Reading between the lines - maybe this is foreshadowing a big price drop on the Volt. Perhaps GM is letting LG Chem know that bigger quantities of battery cells will be needed for Volt packs. It will be Interesting to see what happens this summer.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        I sure hope that is true. Also, the ELR will start needing batteries soon.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah.... it's a positive note for us to be making batteries in this factory that we paid for. Glad ot hear we don't have another total Solyndra on our hands here.
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