Samsung SDI Beats LG Chem in Bid to Sign Battery Deal With Tesla for Model S and Model X

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 21

Samsung SDI Reportedly in Final Stages of Signing Deal With Tesla Motors

Samsung SDI Reportedly in Final Stages of Signing Deal With Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors To Have Two Battery Suppliers?

Tesla Motors To Have Two Battery Suppliers?

According to The Korea Herald, Samsung SDI is in the final stages of inking a lithium-ion battery supply deal with Tesla Motors.

Before even thinking that this spells the end of the long-standing deal between Tesla and Panasonic, we’ll say this: Tesla needs additional cells, which Panasonic can’t supply at the moment.  Samsung SDI will likely step in to fill that shortfall.  Tesla will still work mainly with Panasonic for the time being.

Okay, let’s move on.

The Korea Herald quotes a “source close to the matter” as saying this:

“We understand SDI and Tesla are undergoing last-minute tests before the Korean company starts to supply its batteries.”

Samsung SDI Cells

Samsung SDI Cells

Those last-minute tests reportedly include a battery-life analysis conducted by Samsung SDI and safety tests to be done with both Samsung and Tesla present.

Sources says that the Samsung SDI cells will make their way into the Tesla Model S and maybe even the Model X.  Those cells could show up immediately, as Tesla is said to be running dangerously low on supply from Panasonic.

For what it’s worth, Panasonic is racing to catch up, but Panasonic won’t have its additional supply lines open until mid-2014.

The Korea Herald further says that China’s BYD may be join Tesla’s lithium-ion battery supply chain, too.

The addition of both Samsung SDI and BYD will ensure that there are no supply disruptions for future Tesla vehicles.

Sorry LG Chem...Better Luck Next Time

Sorry LG Chem…Better Luck Next Time

Of note, reports say Tesla looked at both Samsung SDI and LG Chem in Korea.  In the end, Samsung came out victorious.  Why so much interest in inking a supply deal with Tesla?  Well, as The Korea Herald quotes one more “industrial source who declined to be identified:”

“Tesla is sought after by Korean battery makers because of the sensation it is causing in the market, and because of the potential it holds.”

Samsung SDI would not officially comment on its possible dealings with Tesla.

Samsung SDI is the supplier of record for the BMW i3 and Fiat 500e.

Source: Korea Herald

Is This the Samsung Cell Tesla Will Use?

Is This the Samsung Cell Tesla Will Use?

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21 responses to "Samsung SDI Beats LG Chem in Bid to Sign Battery Deal With Tesla for Model S and Model X"

  1. Anthony says:

    I figure these are the cells they will use from Samsung…

    http://www.samsungsdi.com/battery/cylindrical-ICR18650-28A.jsp

    Samsung has one higher capacity cell, but it has a lower max charge rate which I don’t know how well it would handle Supercharging.

    1. Eric Loveday says:

      Thanks Anthony…I’ll add a screen grab of the specs of that cell to the bottom of the post

      1. kdawg says:

        I wish they would stop using the little cylindrical cells. I just don’t trust them, LOL.

        1. David Murray says:

          I like them. They are industry standard. Where do we go 10 years from now if we want to replace the cells in our Nissan and Chevrolet packs? We have no choice but to buy a new pack from the OEM. I wouldn’t mind the pouch style cells if there were an industry standard for them.

          1. kdawg says:

            Even the little cells, you will have to purchase & have installed by the OEM. I prefer the larger format cells. Less chances for failure. I spent all day yesterday chasing down loose wires.

            1. Tom A. says:

              The cells are not off-the-shelf, anyway. Standard safety features are not present in these cells, and they are simplified in other, non-disclosed ways for Tesla.

            2. David Stone says:

              But if there is a failure, it is not too bad.

              Besides, if the had large format cells, they would not be able to fit them under the floor, meaning no more low center of gravity and no more boat-loads of space.

              Add to that that they would have to redesign the car…

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Well, Tesla:
      – uses a modified chemistry
      – uses a slightly modified physical design
      – does their own active management

      So I wouldn’t really be too wedded to Samsung’s specs.

    3. Spec says:

      They are not going to use that cell. They use different chemistry mixes.

  2. GeorgeS says:

    I thought that Panasonic’s highest energy cells were 2.9 and 3.1 mah. so that would make them slightly better than these Samsung cells.

    1. Anthony says:

      Panasonic cells: 3.6V/2900mAh = 10.44 Wh/cell
      Samsung: 3.75V/2800mAh = 10.5Wh/cell

      So they’re mostly equivalent as far as energy storage goes. They aren’t drop-in equivalent though, and the firmware to control the packs will have to be different (different voltage characteristics and such). And there isn’t much on power or cycle characteristics on Samsung’s site.

      1. GeorgeS says:

        Thx Anthony,
        What happened to the 3.1’s??
        (My data is kind of old)

        1. Anthony says:

          I don’t know if Tesla ever used the 3100s. I looked at their spec sheets and they seem to have more capacity fade. I’ve always been using the 2900s as my benchmark.

  3. Dan Frederiksen says:

    Both LG and Samsung seem to have 3000mAh cells. LGchem seems to be slightly cheaper

  4. Ocean Railroader says:

    Don’t worry Panasonic Tesla is like the Cookie Monster of the battery world they are never full. In fact I think it’s quite possible that Tesla could easily eat though Samsung’s supplies of batteries and they would still eat though Panasonic new capacity and even if Samsung and Panasonic both raised battery capacity by ten times each Tesla could still easily munch though that.

    The reason why I say this is that Tesla is making 450 to 500 cars a week and they have almost run out of batteries from Panasonic and Elon Musk wants to raise car making to 800 a week by next year which alone could eat up large amounts of batteries. Now think of how many batteries he would need if he was making say 1200 to 1500 cars a week.

    1. Bonaire says:

      I think it’s getting to be more like 580/week now.

  5. Turbofroggy says:

    I think eventually Tesla could be buying batteries from LG as well. Since LG has a plant in the US now, LG could tool up to produce 18650s as well as pouch cells. This would lower the shipping time and costs, giving the advantage to LG.

  6. Francis L says:

    This is probably a bad news for battery price. This means that Tesla is buying so much batteries that Panasonic can’t produce enough, making no reason for Panasonic to drop prices. Samsung’s batteries are probably more expensive, as it is not the first choice of Tesla. I guess will see new price drop after that panasonic starts produce more battery, but probably not before.

    1. David Murray says:

      Yeah, but with all things like this if Tesla is signing big contracts for huge supplies of batteries, they probably demand a lower price.

      1. David Stone says:

        also, eventually capacity will rise, therefore supply.

        And when other car makers come on board, capacity will rise further still, with the following changing balance of supply and demand.

        That, along with huge economies of scale and inter-company competition…

      2. Francis L says:

        In short term view, this news means that the demand grow faster than the offer. Samsung can sell it cells even if Panasonic’s cells are better or cheaper. Tesla already has bulk pricing, they buy everything that the manufacture can produce! So in a short term, I don’t think that will see a big price drop.

        But of course, on a mid term view, Panasonic is building a second line of production, which should open in a year. When this will happen, offer will grow and prices will drop.