Volkswagen replaces its battery cell supplier

Worker holding a Samsung SDI battery cell

Starting this month – with the new 35,8 kWh battery for the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf – Volkswagen will begin to use Samsung SDI as its supplier for battery cells.

This means that Panasonic/Sanyo loses a big customer for their battery cells, but it doesn’t seem that important since Tesla and now Toyota – with the Prius Prime – will keep the demand high.

As a side note, I’ve to say that in my previous articles I wrongly assumed that Volkswagen would keep Panasonic/Sanyo as its battery cell supplier and I’ve to thank Grendizer for the heads up.

Moving on…


In the photo below we can see the Samsung SDI 37 Ah battery cell that will be used to build Volkswagen Group (Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche) battery packs.


Samsung SDI showing the old and new cells at 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show


To better understand why Volkswagen changed its battery cell supplier, let’s see the Volkswagen roadmap for battery upgrades in the below. It shows us what Volkswagen and Panasonic/Sanyo had planned in 2014.


Volkswagen’s plan in 2014 for future battery upgrades


Samsung SDI realized they could do better and developed the 37 Ah battery cell that can directly replace the old 25 Ah made by Panasonic/Sanyo. This demonstrates the dedication of Samsung SDI to get more automakers as its customers. These 37 Ah battery cells and the ones they are replacing share one common characteristic. They have the high energy density required for BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) and the high power density that’s required for PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles).

The Samsung SDI 37 Ah battery cells will also be used in BMW plug-in hybrid cars – which will get battery capacity upgrades this year.



To sum up, it’s great to see Samsung SDI with two major automakers as clients (BMW and Volkswagen), with Mercedes joining the list later with the EQ sub-brand. The bad news for Samsung SDI is that the German automakers are still dragging their feets to build electric cars. This is why the Samsung SDI battery cell plant in Europe (Hungary) will only start operating in 2018 with an annual capacity to supply 50.000 EV batteries. This highly contrasts with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance’s battery supplier (LG Chem) plans for Europe. LG Chem battery plant in Poland will start operating already this year with an annual production capacity of 100.000 EV batteries. In this aspect, LG Chem is in much better position as the Alliance’s battery cell supplier and Panasonic also is very comfortable with Tesla and Toyota in its customers list.



More info:

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

11 Responses

  1. Yogurt says:

    Samsung may very well move forward there plant opening schedule and even enlarge the plant now that they have another major European customer…
    Always wondering about future upgrades does Samsung have a 60 Ah cell the same size as the 37 they will be selling VW??

  2. Terawatt says:

    I note that you simply passed over in silence your third (or is it more?) failed prediction in a row regarding the new LEAF. Nissan’s talk in Detroit today was a huge disappointment, and frankly a bit of a wake-up call for me. It’s quite clear that their focus, at least in the US, is on SUVs, trucks and pickups. EVs aren’t commercially important yet, and maybe we’ve been fools to think just because they were going to deliver keynotes at CES and in Detroit that we’d get a new LEAF at last.

    Of course Goshn did say at CES that the new LEAF will be unveiled very soon, but one has to wonder how soon that really can be when it didn’t happen today in Detroit.

    It is of course completely unproblematic that you were mistaken, but I wish at some point you would perhaps qualify your speculation and make it a bit more explicit that that is what it is. I, on my part, shall try not to have so much faith in your predictions and thereby hopefully avoid getting disappointed time and again when it does not happen..!

    Other than that, keep up the good work. Every blog pushing EVs is obviously welcome, and I will keep checking back more often than there is any new material. And the news will be coming faster and faster towards 2020. Hyundai interestingly announced (at CES) that they will introduce 4 new BEVs between now and 2020, although my guess is that includes the bigger-battery Ioniq coming in 2018 and probably one or two KIAs. Even so, that is one per year on average. With several manufacturers having announced more ambitious plans and virtually every manufacturer planning at least one or two, we should be seeing the launch of perhaps 50 new BEV models over the next 36 months…

    If you can find out anything more about Kreisel I would love an update. Last you wrote about them the factory was supposed to open in March, and that is now only two months away. Are they not saying anything about what they are going to offer??

    • JyKiaNiro says:

      Kia Niro EV is coming this year.

      • Terawatt says:

        Really? I just saw saying it may or may not be revealed this year, but probably not. Furthermore, they said it’d probably launch as a 2019 model (so autumn 2018).

        If it gets close to the Ioniq effeciency-wise and gets a leading-edge battery pack (which by then should be a bit better than the best today) it ought to be a very interesting car, but likely too late for me. Although I can probably live fine with my LEAF a good while longer, I just crave the freedom of plentiful range… and a sportier car, and one that isn’t a Nissan. 😀

  3. Rick says:

    The passat GTE use already Samsung cells. I was thinking the Audi Q7 etron to use LG cells, but with 12 modules with 14 cells it’s like 28Ah, so Samsung SDI first gen ? Audi communicate to the Q8 with 12 modules x 28Ah, but the capacity is 17.9kWh vs 17.3kWh in the Q7 … same tech ? Same supplier ? Samsung, LG, Panasonic ?

  4. Rick says:

    And what about the Audi A6 L, Tigan GTE and the new Porche Panamera ?

  5. Ralf K. says:

    Pedro, it would be nice if you could make an article on the VW i.d. buzz at Detroit.
    Including your guess, how the 83 an 111 kWh batteries will be constructed from which type of cells.

  6. Ralf K. says:

    And regarding Volkswagens battery strategy: an article would be nice on Volkswagens “Modularer ElektroBaukasten” (MEB). It’s already known that they plan to integrate:
    * cylindric cells (such as 18650 and 21700)
    * pouch cells (e.g. by LG)
    * prismatic cells (e.g by Samsung)
    with good packaging (goal to keep the energy density high when going from cells to modules to battery packs) and good durability with a proper thermal management system.

  7. Ralf K. says:

    Pedro, you state: “The Samsung SDI 37 Ah battery cells will also be used in BMW plug-in hybrid cars – which will get battery capacity upgrades this year.”

    However, all BMW PHEVs so far use cells of size VDA “PHEV1” while Volkswagen uses VDA “PHEV2” cells. So the 26Ah / 34Ah / 40Ah (see Samsung booth picture in the back) are much more likely to apply to BMW PHEV cars.

  8. lo says:

    I got info from VW engineers, that they could beat 300 km of range in the NEDC during final testing of the new e-golf.

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