China isn't quite sure what it's doing these days in regards to electric cars.
Just recently, China moved to add vehicles equipped with nickel, manganese and cobalt (NMC) technology to its government subsidy program. Prior to that, NMC-equipped vehicles were deemed too dangerous and therefore weren't approved for subsidies.
A Samsung SDI rep holding their new "Low Height Pack" cells which won't be available until 2019.
Now, China has decided that certain battery manufacturers aren't approved.
For example, both LG Chem and Samsung SDI are basically banned from China, meaning that vehicles now equipped with cells from those two battery makers can't be sold in China.
As Ward's Auto explains, in a rather twisted and hard to follow way:
Beijing Hyundai Motor switches battery suppliers for the plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles it will sell in China from LG Chem to a fast-growing Chinese brand.
The move by the joint venture between the Chinese and Korean automakers follows Chinese regulators’ denial in late 2016 of battery certification for LG Chem and Samsung SDI. The two South Korean companies are among the world’s largest makers of lithium-ion batteries used in PHEVs.
Beijing Hyundai will begin producing the Yuedong (sold outside China as the Elantra) PHEV at a Beijing plant in this year’s second half, using battery modules supplied by Contemporary Amperex Technology, according to sources in China. Hyundai Motor declines to comment on the matter.
Furthermore, Beijing Hyundai will have to switch out the battery pack on its Sonata PHEV in order to sell it in China. The LG Chem pack isn't certified in China, so Beijing Hyundai will switch it out for a Contemporary Amperex pack. Additional testing will have to be done, so this will lead to a delay of the Sonata PHEV launch in China until sometime in 2018.
There's apparently a similar issue with any Samsung SDI-equipped vehicles. The whole thing is a mess really and it's hard to fully explain, but the gist is that plug-ins with LG Chem or Samsung SDI cells can't be sold in China. Apparently, there's some connection to missiles too:
"Some analysts speculate China’s rejection of certification of the Korean battery packs was a direct response to South Korea’s decision to deploy the U.S.-built Terminal High-Altitude Aerial Defense missile-defense system, which could be deployed used to guard the country against missiles launched from China."
Source: Ward's Auto