While cylindrical and prismatic battery cells already heavily rely on standardized dimensions, pouch cells are still a mess and made in a wide variety of sizes.
The main advantage of using battery cells with standardized dimensions is that it enables automakers to use multiple battery suppliers and prevent battery supply constraints. For battery cell makers, it enables them to focus in fewer products and increase production efficiency.
LG Chem had previously made battery cells in a variety of lengths depending on customer orders. This was one of its strengths thanks to it making pouch batteries that can accommodate this diverse lengths. But this also led to constant readjustment of its production line depending on customer’s size requirements. These adjustment periods would last around a month and halt lines.
But the South Korean company is changing course due to automobile companies requesting more price cuts for batteries. Automobile companies are also moving to use standardized platforms to produce different kinds of electric vehicles (EV).
LG Chem’s efforts considered return of investments in facilities and yield rate progresses.
The company has already restructured its product line-up extensively. Products not aimed at EV platforms will end production or replaced with other batteries. It has altered some of its production lines for this.
Standard battery cells those with lengths between 300mm to 400mm are used by Audi, Daimler and Renault. Volkswagen uses battery cells with lengths of 550mm for its Modular Electric Drive, or MEB, platform. Hyundai is expected to use long axis batteries for its E-GMP platform as well.
Past EV uses a variety of battery sizes as the models were usually made with fuel engine car platforms. But with the introduction of EV platforms, sizes of batteries have become standardized with only their lengths differing.
Previously, it was common to have battery cells with custom dimensions to fit in messy hybrid platforms (made to allow multiple powertrains).
Now that automakers are adopting flat platforms made exclusively for electric cars, battery cells can be much longer and standardized. This is easy to understand when we compare the MQB and MEB platforms for example.
Volkswagen MEB platform allows this automaker to have LG Chem, SK Innovation, Samsung SDI and CATL has its battery cell suppliers and prevent battery supply constraints.
The standardization of battery cells is necessary for electric cars to reach high production numbers and compete with ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars.