Panasonic & LG Chem Jolt China’s Battery Market

Panasonic Tesla

DEC 27 2018 BY MARK KANE 10

Beijing is loosening restrictions for foreign EV battery manufacturers?

China is changing its approach to foreign EV lithium-ion battery manufacturers like Japan’s Panasonic and South Korean LG Chem/Samsung SDI.

A few years ago, new investments in production plants were affected by Chinese policy, favoring domestic manufacturers.

To receive subsidies for electric cars, batteries were required to be supplied by companies from an accredited list. Those who didn’t catch onto the list needed to produce batteries for export or for other industries, because such batteries were not competitive in the case of EVs.

According to Nikkei, the Chinese government is now loosening restrictions, so foreign manufacturers are preparing more production capacity.

Panasonic’s production capacity is believed to be nearly 5 GWh the and company aims for an 80% increase in summer 2019 (by adding two production lines), which would be a total of 9 GWh annually. The Japanese manufacturer secured land for two more buildings at a factory in Dalian, Liaoning Province.

LG Chem apparently aims to build new facilities in Nanjing by 2020 and be able to produce batteries for 500,000 New Energy Vehicles (no details about GWh).

On the other hand, two of the biggest Chinese players – CATL and BYD – hint at 50 GWh and 60 GWh respectively by 2020!

Source: Nikkei

Categories: China

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10 Comments on "Panasonic & LG Chem Jolt China’s Battery Market"

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Damn, things are really picking up speed.

Panasonic is probably just GigaFactory 3,

GF3 will not produce cells according to Musk. They will buy from multiple suppliers, including Panasonic. This announcemt was about prismatic cells that Tesla doesn’t use (at the moment)

“Tesla will manufacture all battery modules & packs at China Giga, as we do today in California & Nevada. Cell production will be sourced locally, most likely from several companies (incl Pana), in order to meet demand in a timely manner.”

I read that as a temporary measure, but in a few years they would manufacturer battery cells at GF3.

Hmmm? Tesla will buy battery cells for the TM3 for production in China, yes. But switching from “2170” (or more generically, 21700) cells to prismatic cells?

Tesla has never used prismatic cells, and I’ve seen no news to suggest they are going to switch to using anything other than 21700 form factor cells. In fact, the Tesla Model 3 was designed around a battery pack using Panasonic “2170” (form factor 21700) cells. It’s certainly possible that Tesla can substitute cells with similar chemistry and/or internal structure for the Panasonic cells, but I don’t see Tesla designing an entirely new battery pack, with a different energy/power profile and a different cooling system, just because they will be sourcing batteries from China instead of from Gigafactory 1.

This particular factory makes prismatic cells. Tesla only uses cylindrical. This expansion by Panasonic is not for Tesla but in addition to.

A GWh here, a GWh there — pretty soon, you’re talking some serious battery production.

Only need a couple Gw to power a DMC to 1955.

That’s nice, but the enmity between China and Japan is ancient and ongoing. It’s not going to disappear because of this one loosening of red tape restrictions.

It’s good that Panasonic may have better access to the China market, at least temporarily, but I question the wisdom of Panasonic increasing its manufacturing in China. The Chinese central government can reverse course and tighten up restrictions as easily and quickly as they have relaxed them. Let’s not forget this is just a relaxation of the suddenly increased restrictions which China imposed only a year or two ago; restrictions specifically aimed at foreign battery cell makers from Japan and S. Korea, including both Panasonic and LG Chem.

In fact, I am AMAZED that LG or Pana are investing a penny into China. Hopefully, they are doing OLD technology.
I still think that Tesla is insane to build in China before Europe. Right now, a factory in Europe would sell many more cars than China will.