Almost two years ago Tesla revealed what its new battery cell standard would be, which it called 4680 because of its measurements (46 mm in diameter and 80 mm high). Now, LG Energy Solutions, Tesla’s supplier for years, has announced an investment of 450 million dollars to carry out the manufacture of this type of cell. Although LG has other brands to which it will also supply the aforementioned batteries, such as Volkswagen or General Motors, all eyes are on the American electric car manufacturer.
LG Energy Solutions has not yet effectively confirmed for what purpose this investment in the production of 4680 cells is directed., although all indications suggest that they will be produced for Tesla. With this move, LG intends to monopolize the market for battery cells for electric cars even more, since it currently produces bag-type and cylindrical ones (its priority is placed on the latter). The North American company revealed two years ago how it would solve a very pronounced “but” in the electric models at the time, which was autonomy, size and manufacturing cost. Tesla, with the 4680 format, claimed to have resolved such conflicts by showing larger lithium-ion cells and improved technology.
In order to produce this larger cell, the car company had to develop new manufacturing processes and implement them massively in its own battery factories, which are still being built in Berlin, Shanghai and Austin, its most modern Gigafactories. In addition to this plan to manufacture the cells in its own facilities, Tesla’s management has had to reach multiple agreements with other suppliers to carry out said production until then.
LG Energy Solutions was one of the first companies to show interest in manufacturing this component, but it was not until this week that the specialist battery brand has announced a total investment of 450 million dollars to build an in-house manufacturing line for 4680 cells at a factory the company owns in Ochang, South Korea.
This increase in production would reach 9 GWh per year in its factory number 2. This generous number of batteries produced additionally It will mean supplying more than 120,000 electric cars a year. Although the investments made by LG to increase its 2170 cell production lines were also benefited by an investment of 116 million dollars for its factory number 1 in Ochang, and through which it plans to increase its production by an additional 4 GWh per year.
This smaller size cell is also used by models signed by Tesla, although it is also used in other models from alternative manufacturers, such as Lucid Motors, who began using it on their only current production model, the Air. This new investment produced on its Korean factory it is expected to come into operation in the middle of next year 2023; Until then, it is possible that one of the companies (LG or Tesla) will issue an express statement where the terms of their agreement or other points yet to be revealed are better specified. With this, Tesla would have already closed other agreements to produce the 4680 cell, such as Panasonic.