Samsung is the third 4680 battery maker seeking a big contract with Tesla

According to information in the Korean press, Samsung SDI, the subsidiary of the technology company dedicated to the development and production of batteries, is preparing a new production line of 4680 battery cells. The Korean manufacturer would thus become the third largest supplier of batteries for Tesla electric cars, along with his compatriot LG Energy Solutions already the japanese panasonicwhich, for now, looks like the most advanced of the three as production is expected to start next year.

In the information published by the Korean media TheElec, it is assured that the Korean company is preparing this new production line at its Cheonan plant facilities, in South Korea. “The cells correspond to the 4680 cylindrical format (46 mm in diameter, 80 mm in length),” states this medium, indicating that the battery manufacturer “will verify the technology within a year.” This same publication also states that Samsung SDI is testing the production of a battery cell similar to this one, although a little shorter, destined for the German manufacturer BMW.

Initially, the new production line will have the capacity to manufacture 1 GWh of cells per year. When the processes and technology are verified, this figure will increase significantly, since Tesla has indicated that it will acquire all the battery cells of this format that are available on the market in order to meet the high demand it foresees for its electric cars.

Although the Californian firm is manufacturing these cells internally on its pilot line in Fremont, it has a limited production capacity due to its own facilities and its limited experience in the production of this component. Until now, Tesla has limited itself to packaging in its factories the cells that Panasonic produced in the Nevada Gigafactory and subsequently those that it has acquired from suppliers such as LG or CATL.

Tesla’s strategy is to rely on its internal production, relying on the supply of companies specialized in the production of battery cells. Elon Musk has already announced that in the future each electric vehicle will have the batteries that best suit their needs. Therefore, it will use different technologies such as iron-based chemistries (LFP) and ternary chemistries (NCM and NCMA).

Samsung thus joins Panasonic and LG Energy Solutions in the race for a high-volume contract with Tesla. The Japanese company plans to start production next year, which will make it the first external supplier to do so. The latter has recently invested $450 million to produce the cells at its Ochang plant.

In the absence of official confirmation from Samsung SDI, the work schedule is still unclear, although the Korean outlet indicates that once pilot production is established in Korea, the company is likely to start producing the new cell in Seremban, Malaysia, with an annual capacity of between 8 and 12 GWh. The company is soliciting bids to place an order for Tesla-like manufacturing equipment for the production of the battery cells.

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