LG Chem Confirmed As Li-ion Battery Supplier For New Smart EV

MAR 30 2015 BY MARK KANE 12

LG Chem Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery Cells

LG Chem Lithium-Ion Polymer Battery Cells

Daimler intends to introduce the new 2016 smart, which will be available at a later date in all-electric version.

As we guessed, the battery supplier for the new smart fortwo electric drive (and smart forfour electric drive) will be LG Chem, while cells will be installed into packs by Daimler’s Deutsche ACCUmotive.

Previous lithium-ion cell supplier for smart was Li-Tec. Current generation of smart is equipped with a 17.6 kWh battery.

Sales of new smart EV is scheduled for 2016. There are no details on battery size or energy density at this point in time, but for sure we can expect a price reduction.

Young Soo Kwon, the President of Energy Solution Company, LG Chem said:

“LG Chem’s battery business and technology have been world-widely acknowledged once again as our products are continuously being installed by major automobile makers from their commodity brands to premium vehicles”.

“LG Chem’s will continue to lead the EV battery market with differentiated technology to make us stand up as global No.1 battery manufacturer.”

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12 Comments on "LG Chem Confirmed As Li-ion Battery Supplier For New Smart EV"

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Hopefully they increase to at least 20kw battery

The bigger the battery pack, the fewer packs LG Chem will be able to supply. Keep in mind that LG Chem has to supply multiple customers, not just one or two.

EV makers who are serious about building a large number of long-range BEVs will build their own battery factories, or at least sign exclusive contracts with battery manufacturers. So far, Tesla and Nissan are the only EV makers to build their own battery factories… and even Nissan is now cutting back on its own manufacturing, in favor of depending on LG Chem for supply. Not a good sign.

Rubbish on two counts:

First, LG will build manufacturing capacity to suit demand. They have adequate reserve capacity at the moment and can bring on new facilities quite quickly.

Secondly, there is no reason why cells cannot be outsourced to manufacturers with chemical engineering specialization. There is an argument for vehicle specific pack assembly in house, but not cell manufacturing. Tesla’s choice doesn’t have to be everyone else’s choice.

Seems like they’re waiting for the LAST MINUTE before doing much to ensure capacity for their MULTIPLE CUSTOMERS who are all claiming 200+ mile range EVs…

They better start ramping up now, or they’ll go bankrupt not being able to meet demand or control their costs if they have to outsource, just to provide cells for their customers.

I see no LG Gigafactory in the near short term. This does not bode well for 2017 release dates for a number of BEVs…

There is no magic wand available to instantly increase the capacity of factories, or to build new ones.

The rule of thumb is it takes about two years to get a new high-volume factory running and fine-tuned to eliminate problems and maximize production efficiency.

Is LG Chem building out new production capacity? Yes. Have they announced plans to build it out as fast as Tesla plans to ramp up production capacity as fast as the Gigafactory? Nope.

Let’s not confuse the -ability- to build large amounts of new capacity in battery production, with a company actually committing the money, time, and energy necessary to actually do so. Tesla is dedicated to doing that. Other companies? Not so much.

Disagree…

When the GM supply chain guys phone up LG and say ” this is our committed plan”, LG responds accordingly. That’s how it works in the auto supply chain.

And for LG, based on their philosophy of multiple smaller factories nearer the customers, it is a matter of “step and repeat” at this point in time.

Based on Nissan’s plan to expand their supplier campus in Smyrna, I believe that Nissan North America is going to continue to use their battery plant in Smyrna, TN. Sure, they might have LG take over for AESC, but they are going to keep pumping out batteries as close to the assembly line as possible.

See: http://nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/releases/nissan-and-tennessee-gov-haslam-announce-major-u-s-expansion-project-supporting-1-000-jobs-and-future-manufacturing-growth?page=3&query

The linked article mentions Nissan’s auto assembly plant in Smyrna, but says nothing about the nearby battery factory. According to recent reports, there’s a debate within Nissan over whether to shutter their battery factories entirely, or just reduce the production significantly.

I don’t know that Nissan has come out and said it, but it seems likely to me that what’s going on is that LG Chem (and possibly Samsung and other battery manufacturers) will be offering, within a year or two, li-ion batteries at a price significantly lower than Nissan’s in-house cost. So I think that’s why they now plan to buy battery cells from LG Chem, rather than continue to make most of them in-house.

Hopefully that will change; hopefully Nissan will figure out how to make the same or similar innovations which LG Chem has done, so they can ramp up their in-house battery manufacturing.

For the sake of continued competition in the EV revolution, I hope Tesla won’t remain the only EV maker to dedicate significant resources to building its own batteries.

Disagree again…

There is not a huge compelling advantage to bringing commodity cell manufacturing in house. Pack assembly, yes, but not cells.

The main for Tesla taking a different path is their decision to use a totally different type of cell than the others. No-one was interested in supplying that kind of volume for that type of cell, so they really had no choice but to bring huge scale in house. Even their main supplier Panasonic wouldn’t risk it on their own.

You can’t assume everyone in the battery cell business are fools… We reserve that term for the hydrogen community!

There is certainly a new wave of batteries sweeping over the EV industry, but its going to be used primarily for cost cutting. If you see range improvement, its going to be primarly because of the lower weight for new packs, but realize that the makers could easily pocket that difference as well.

The car makers move in lockstep. There is a reason that 25KWH batteries became the virtual standard for EVs. The next step is 50WKH, and you are going to see virtually all the makers step forward as one.

Cost cutting is good for both manufacturers and customers alike. You want to see the makers “get on top” of their production costs and pocketing a steady profit before moving forward. Otherwise nobody sees their investments ever paying off and they want out.

Scott Franco said:

“If you see range improvement, its going to be primarly because of the lower weight for new packs…”

No, it’s going to primarily be because with a significant reduction in per-kWh price, EV makers can now afford to put battery packs with more kWh into their cars for the same price.

The importance of gravimetric energy density (i.e., weight) in battery packs has been greatly overstated. Volumetric energy density (the size) is fairly important, but doubling or halving the weight of the battery pack won’t have much effect on the EV’s performance. Add or subtract 2-3 passengers, and you’d have the same effect on the car.

Quote : “EV makers can now afford to put battery packs with more kWh into their cars for the same price.” Sure, but reducing the price and keeping the same capacity for Smart ED makes a lot of sense. Remember, the EV rebates will be reduced/eliminated over time, so the lower the vehicle cost, the less sensitivity the car manufacturer will have to political decisions. I personally don’t need more range in my Smart ED. Reduced price would have been great. Quote : “The next step is 50WKH, and you are going to see virtually all the makers step forward as one.” If the purpose is to sell more cars, reduction in price may be just as valuable, given that battery cell production is unlikely to scale to the level required for mass adoption over the next two years. Better to produce more cars at lower price and start to make traction on the standard household that has two cars, one of which can remain gas, and the other electric for the vast majority of commutes and short trips. Quote : “The bigger the battery pack, the fewer packs LG Chem will be able to supply.” Daimler will still be… Read more »