LG Chem's LG Energy Solution is busy at work building its pilot manufacturing line for the 4680 cylindrical battery cells (announced by Tesla during Battery Day), according to unofficial media reports from South Korea. The shift to a 4680 form factor has been expected since October 2020, when we first heard about it and wondered whether Tesla is licensing its 4680 cell technology to the Korean company?
The Elec (via Teslarati) reports that the company already installed some equipment at its Ochang plant in South Korea and intends to start pilot production as soon as possible, maybe even beating Panasonic.
The Japanese competitor is also working on its pilot production line - at the Osaka plant in Japan - with a target for production as early as 2021.
In other words, besides Tesla's in-house developments in California, we see already at least two major battery manufacturers working on the 4680: LG Chem's LG Energy Solution and Panasonic.
Because so far no other carmaker announced a switch to Tesla's new type of cells, we guess that the battery manufacturers are developing their manufacturing lines specifically for Tesla to secure new high volume deals.
While the general new form factor of the cells will be defined by the 46mm x 80mm dimensions, the cell chemistry may be different. There might be various types of lithium-ion chemistries for various types of vehicles or energy storage systems.
Combining this with the general shortage of cells, we can safely assume that there will be multiple suppliers and multiple chemistries, including Tesla's in-house supply and in-house chemistry.