Automotive

Energy Dept. backs $2.5B loan to GM venture for EV batteries

A joint venture between General Motors and South Korean battery company LG Energy Solution is set to receive a $2.5 billion loan from the Energy Department to build battery cell factories for electric vehicles in three states. The Energy Department says it has made a conditional commitment to lend the money to Ultium Cells. The loan could help Ultium finance three lithium-ion battery plants planned in Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, bolstering Biden administration efforts to promote electric vehicles and reduce dependence on China for critical components. The director of Energy’s Loan Programs Office said Tuesday the loan would “help build a domestic supply chain to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles."

US opens 3 probes of safety issues in Stellantis vehicles

U.S. safety regulators have opened three investigations into safety issues with about 1.65 million vehicles made by Stellantis. The largest probe covers 1.34 million Jeep Cherokee small SUVs from the 2014 through 2020 model years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 80 complaints that the electronic parking brakes can turn on while the SUVs are moving. Another probe covers 289,000 Jeep Compass and Patriot small SUVs from 2016 due to 127 complaints about engine stalling. The agency also says it has 40 complaints of a transmission problem causing Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivans to lose power. The probe cover 21,000 vans from the 2019 through 2021 model years. The investigations could lead to recalls, but so far the agency hasn’t sought any.