In China, South Korean battery cell makers – LG Chem and Samsung SDI – aren’t having an easy life with all the Government regulations and bureaucracy, but even so LG Chem has recently announced its decision to move forward. The company will build two additional plants to expand EV battery production capacity at the Nanjing battery plant.
It’s not yet known how much production capacity will the two additional plants add to the factory, but anything less than increasing from 50.000 to 100.000 EV batteries per year would be aiming low, since we’re talking about supplying batteries to the biggest electric car market in the world, China.
The reason why I think that LG Chem isn’t announcing figures yet is because this way the company has more negotiating power with the Chinese government, which haven’t been very nice.
In the picture below we have the current production figures.
LG Chem will also extend its battery cell plant in Holland, Michigan (USA). The facility’s expansion will be fast, it’ll begin next month and be completed in record time in August.
This battery cell production increase is needed to supply batteries for the Chevrolet’s stars – Bolt EV and Volt – and the upcoming Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. In a much less extent we can also count on the Ford Focus Electric to use some of the produced battery cells.
LG Chem President Nick Kassanos, told WHTC News the following:
“We’re associated with the 2017 Chevrolet Volt with sales breaking record numbers in December. Of course we also build the batteries and the pack for the Pacifica Chrysler Hybrid minivan that was named utility van of the year. The more you see with OEM’s (original equipment manufacturers) with hybrid technology, LG Chem is available and willing to grow.”
Also in Europe LG Chem is in the right track for success.
The opening of its battery cell plant in Poland later this year will make possible a significant production boost of Renault Zoe and Kangoo ZE. It also seems that LG Chem finally convinced Carlos Ghosn, Nissan CEO to stop producing its own battery cells, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Nissan lets LG Chem to use Sunderland battery plant – as a part of a deal to get better kWh price than GM is getting with the Bolt EV. It’s a win-win situation, Nissan already has battery cell factories all over the world and LG Chem has the best technology.
Ironically, in South Korea, its domestic market, LG Chem isn’t doing very well.
Since Kia is using SK innovation – another South Korean battery cell maker – as its supplier, all eyes are on Hyundai. However until Hyundai decides to boost IONIQ Electric production and its battery capacity to at least 40 kWh, most of the LG Chem battery cells produced in South Korea are going to be used in electric cars manufactured abroad.
When LG Chem finally solves this piece of the puzzle its future will be well assured.