The plan is to expand from about 100-120 GWh annually (level available in the late 2020), to 260 GWh by 2023! That would be enough to equip with batteries some 5 million electric cars (assuming 50 kWh per pack).
The company is looking for a new site in Europe to invest in one more battery plant - on top of the two facilities in Poland, which together are the biggest in the portfolio:
LG Chem plants:
- South Korea
- China: two plants in Nanjing (2nd plant output is 6 GWh initially and to be 32 GWh by 2023)
- China: a 50/50 joint venture with Geely Auto (expected 10 GWh annually from 2021)
- Poland, Europe (€1.5 billion project, planned for 65 GWh annually)
- U.S.: Michigan
- U.S: 2nd plant in the U.S. announced (50/50 JV with GM in the Lordstown area of Northeast Ohio, more than 30 GWh annually)
According to the Reuters' article, LG Chem is in talks with a "couple" of automakers to create joint ventures for cell production. So far two were established - one with Geely in China, and one with GM in Ohio.
Regardless of whether LG Chem will be an independent supplier or JV-partner for a particular automaker, it seems that the expansion is a hot topic these days. One of the largest elements of the growing demand in 2020 was Tesla with its Giga Shanghai plant. LG Chem picked up the opportunity that Panasonic - previously dominant Tesla's battery supplier - skipped.
“We are in talks to expand cooperation with almost all automakers, and Tesla is one of them,”.
The next chapter would be the split of the battery business to a new wholly-owned subsidiary - LG Energy Solutions. Up to 30% of the company is expected to be listed in an IPO at some point in 2021/2022.