LG Chem prepares to produce NCM 811 battery cells

LG Chem battery cell

The upcoming introduction of the new high energy density NCM 811 battery cells requires the supply of more nickel, for this reason, LG Chem acquired a 10 percent stake in Kemco, a South Korean supplier of nickel sulfate.


Next year, in March, Kemco expects to produce nickel sulfate at a new factory, reaching an annual capacity of 20.000 tons. This means that LG Chem is on schedule to be able to supply the new NCM 811 battery cells in the summer of next year.

Not only the new NCM 811 battery cells with better energy density will drop the kWh cost at the pack level to 100 euros, they’ll also allow to make compact electric cars with decent range.


Advances in battery technology will improve range, weight and costs by Volkswagen


Let’s see some electric cars that are expected to get the new LG Chem NCM 811 battery cells:

  • Nissan Leaf E-Plus (~60 kWh version)
  • Hyundai Kona EV
  • Hyundai IONIQ Electric (battery upgraded version)
  • Kia Niro EV
  • Second generation Renault Zoe (probably in 2019)
  • Volkswagen ID that will replace the e-Golf in 2019
  • Opel Corsa EV (2019)
  • Peugeot 208 EV (2019)


The NCM 811 cathode is the first battery technology that makes electric cars price-competitive with ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars. For this reason, Volkswagen recently decided to not release the next generation Golf 8 with an electric version, instead Volkswagen will bring its successor – the ID – in 2019 with the MEB platform, one year earlier than what was initially planned.


Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) in the Volkswagen I.D. Concept


I’m curious to see if the legacy automakers will finally take advantage of this new battery technology to finally sell appealing and affordable electric cars, while Tesla is having problems with ramping up the production of the Model 3. The Tesla Model 3 created a lot of media attention to electric cars and since Tesla isn’t able to produce enough cars to satisfy the demand, legacy automakers should step in and take this unique opportunity to establish themselves as electric car leaders…

If I was the CEO of one of those legacy automakers I would definitely take this one time opportunity and produce great electric cars to try to get some of those Tesla Model 3 reservation holders that are tired of waiting… In part, this is what I think Nissan and Hyundai will try to do in the following months. Let’s wait and see which one will be more successful in this strategy.


What do you think? Will at least some legacy automakers use the NCM 811 battery technology to make better electric cars and establish themselves as technological leaders?! Or will they continue to leave that role for Tesla alone?!


Update: it seems that initially the NCM 811 cells will be only used in electric buses.



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.

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3 years ago

I actually don’t think that Tesla is seen as a very big thread to other car companies. We are still waiting to Tesla to show that they can produce half a million cars a year and even with half a million cars a year they are still small compared to the other car manufacturers.
If you were a car company CEO you would probably be interested in price more than everything else, if the current technology allows you to sell BEVs, why change the technology? I don’t think car companies want to make great cars, they want to make money, so unless the new technology allows you to make more money on each car it probably isn’t very interesting.

3 years ago
Reply to  Lars

Of course they want to make money. But making great cars is a very effective means to making money for a car company!

EVs technology is already cost competitive, even in the USA where fossil fuels are half the price compared to Europe. To see this, realize that the difference is just the driveline – everything else in an EV is the same as ICE. Batteries are expensive, but so is fuel! In fact, they more than pay for themselves.

Let’s do some simple ballpark estimates. What is the lifetime fuel cost for an ICE, and for an EV? If the car’s life is 200 000 km and it does 20 km per liter, it’ll consume 10 000 liters over it’s life. Say it costs $1.25 per liter (in Europe) yielding a fuel cost of $12 500. Now for the EV. It’ll do 6 km/kWh, but to be kind to ICE and make the math easy let’s say it only manages 5 km/kWh. That’s 40 000 kWh over it’s life, costing $5000.

So we’ve saved $7,500 in operational cost so far. But the rest of the EV driveline is about $4000 cheaper than the equivalent ICE driveline. So that bumps us to $11 500.

On top of this EVs require considerably less maintenance over their life than ICE. I don’t know how much this amounts to, but I would guess it’s at least $5000 ($250 less or year on average for twenty years). For this exercise however let’s assume it’s just $800.

We’ve saved $13 300 then. My choice of $800 wasn’t entirely random, because battery pack cost is now down to about $133/kWh. Which means that as long as our hypothetical EV alternative to an ICE car is equipped with no more than $100 kWh, is actually the cheaper car in terms of total cost!

I hear you – upfront cost and later costs don’t influence buyers in the same way. This is true. But even a 50 kWh pack is pretty decent in many cars, and most of it is paid for in manufacture by the cheaper driveline. Operational costs do after all influence buyers, just not as much as sticker prices.

The real reason EVs are expensive have nothing to do with the fundamental technology. It’s because it’s expensive to design, test, homologate a car and design, test and tune its production. The logistics with suppliers and parts and administering the whole thing are pretty much equally complicated whether you make 50 000 or two million of a car, so the cost per vehicle is much greater with low volume.

ICE vehicles tend to share platforms and parts and manufacturing facilities with many other vehicles. Even many lower volume models have underpinnings that are much higher volumes (e.g. every SEAT and Skoda which all have VW siblings).

So why aren’t auto manufactures scrambling to introduce more models, share platforms and pump up EV volume? I believe the answer is that EVs, like any big change, means more risk for them. The investments are large and when you get to the other side of the transitioning you find yourself in an industry with lower barriers to entry, which should also mean lower profits long term.

I agree with you that Tesla isn’t yet a big threat. Having seen how easily and quickly GM best Tesla to market with an affordable long range EV, once it decided to do so, I think they can afford to wait and see in that regard. But at the same time they face a much more real short term threat of regulations. In China it’s already decided. In many European cities there’s talk of shutting out diesels and maybe all cars that emit pollutants. Fleet averages must come down, and EVs are the most cost effective way of doing it, perhaps the only way that doesn’t compromise performance. And prices continue to fall quickly. All in all, I think they see the writing on the wall and have begun to position themselves, but they don’t yet want to contribute much to speeding up change. Now it’s a game of being ready when your competitors are or regulation requires, and strike when the time is right. From the published plans of many auto groups it appears most believe sometime between 2020 and 2025 will be the time to go “all-in” and start competing between each other rather than, as now, collaborate to delay EVs while simultaneously trying to jostle for position when the inevitable arrives.

3 years ago
Reply to  Terawatt

Maybe Chinese car companies will be a bigger thread than Tesla. In China they have a plan for the introduction of EVs and that means many Chinese car companies will be switching to EVs and new companies will be created in order deliver to the Chinese demand. And if you can build EVs for the Chinese marked it should take you too long before you can build EVs that could be sold in Europe and the US as well.

3 years ago

At this time I only see GM and Nissan as being able to take advantage of Teslas production mis steps but I think Nissan will try to capatilize with the new Leaf but I dont think GM has the will yet…
Hyundai cant produce BEVs any faster than Tesla in the short term and the odds are Tesla will have their issues ironed out by next summer and will be producing 1,000s per week…
By the 2020 timeframe Tesla needs to have very solid production and needs to have taken care of their Consumer Reports issues because every auto manufacture in the world will have competing BEVs…
In short I think Tesla has upwards of two years to solidify their products before the legacy auto makers come for them…
I know if I was GM or Nissan I would be jacking up production and droping the price of my BEVs profit be damed (although I think they both could drasticaly drop price and still profit) and going after Teslas customers…

3 years ago

Could you please provide the source for the claim that this technology will bring the cost down to 100 euro per kWh at the pack level?

Dmitry Pelegov
3 years ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Few moments.
1. LG Chem has to be able to scale up production. How fast they can start production of proper cells in Poland? I hope that they could, keeping in mind US plant, but scales should be increased significantly. And LNO are harder to produce than LCO, to my knowledge. Could they produce 811 NCM not in South Korea? And they have to adopt to different material suppliers…
2. How profitable is battery production? some experts afraid that prices about $100 per kWh could cause problems to battery makers
3. How safe is 811 NMC? And how well cycled?

3 years ago

Thanks Pedro. It is interesting.

3 years ago
Reply to  KM

And because all development costs for the Leaf (and the Leaf2) have been written off for a long time, Nissan can undercut every other EV-producer if they want to. They can definitely sell the Leaf2 for 20.000€ and still ear good money on it.
I don’t think any of the established car companies is afraid of Tesla. They have the resources and knowledge to be able to compete with Tesla at any time. For now they see Tesla more as a thermometer for the EV-marked and jump on to it, as soon as there is real money to earn. Let’s hope Tesla, at that point of time, has the resources to be able to compete.

3 years ago

I have a Model 3 reservation and a KONA reservation. While they are quite different cars I’m far from sure which is more likely to be my next EV, and it may well be neither! The 60 kWh LEAF seems likely to be a strong contender (if rumoured price premium over the 40 kWh of only ~$3000 proves accurate), and the KIA Niro obviously could be interesting… and perhaps several other models in a similar price range will be announced to muddy the picture more before it’s time to decide.

Tesla estimates delivery as early 2018, which almost certainly isn’t too pessimistic. KONA should reach Norway next summer, but I was late to realize it could be reserved and have 5500 ahead of me in line. So it seems quite possible that the 2019 LEAF will be possible to get around the same time as the other two (but there’s no way to reserve one).

Given the pace at which EVs are improving I’m inclined to wait “as long as possible”, but in the other hand I really crave more range, to the point that I’m tempted to get the 2018 LEAF, which I can probably get by spring… It’s just that I think 40 still isn’t really enough since it will lose capacity over time. That hurts less the bigger the pack is to begin with (fewer cycles means larger packs lose less capacity percentage-wise, the same in absolute terms, per kilometer driven). The KONA with 64.2 kWh will have twice the “anxiety-free range” of the 40 kWh LEAF after seven years of use (say both lose 10 kWh and you need a 4 kWh buffer to be anxiety-free-free). Do although I will go and test drive the new LEAF, I’ll do my best to resist temptation a while longer.

3 years ago
Reply to  Terawatt

Oops. Tesla estimate of course is LATE 2018, not early! Which probably means 2019 at the earliest. Tesla isn’t known for its conservative timeline estimates…

Todd Millions
3 years ago

Your header RFB quote is the rub too me.
These higher energy density batteries with greater cycle life are
needed of course.
Though I would like too see more available based on Sodium and Sulphur
The speculator positioning on Lithium stocks and supply is ominous too me on many levels.
But- the cars are the crap we have being habituated too expect.
And are supposed too be required.
Three wheel instead of four- two wheel single track(Mauser eisenspur)-
All of these allow us too start with lower rolling drag and make actual aerodynamics
A crapmobile with 2% overall energy efficiency is a piece of crap no matter how its powered.
10% would bugger up the “Arms Atoms &Oil Mafia ” nicely.
Always the primary design goal even when its probably too late.

3 years ago

Teslas model 3 already has 877wh/l!! How crazy is that?