Recent reports from South Korea have indicated that LG Energy Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of LG Chem, is building a pilot 4680 battery production line for Tesla. The pilot line is reportedly being constructed quickly, with the project potentially entering operations ahead of Japanese rival Panasonic, which is poised to launch its own 4680 cell production efforts for Tesla as well.
As per reports from South Korean media outlet The Elec, LG is currently transforming some production lines at its Ochang plant. Individuals reportedly familiar with the matter informed the news agency that assembly and electroplating equipment have already been installed in the facility. LG is expected to invest millions of dollars into the venture, effectively rivaling Panasonic’s efforts.
According to the South Korean publication’s sources, Panasonic’s 4680 cell production facility is being prepared at the Japanese conglomerate’s Suminoe plant in Osaka. With Panasonic already going all-in on producing Tesla’s 4680 batteries, LG Energy Solution is reportedly pushing hard in an effort to complete its pilot line before its Japanese rival starts the mass production of the tabless cells.
Last year, Tesla’s unveiling of its 4680 cells sparked multiple efforts from the electric car maker’s battery suppliers, particularly Panasonic and LG Chem. Between the two, Panasonic has been Tesla’s partner longer, with the Japanese firm supporting the electric car maker even before Gigafactory Nevada. LG Chem, for its part, has proven to be assertive, with previous reports from South Korea stating that the firm is looking to dethrone Panasonic as Tesla’s primary battery supplier.
Panasonic, for its part, does not seem intent on giving away its position as Tesla’s primary battery partner either. In a statement last year, Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga noted that plans for the production of Tesla’s 4680 cells started immediately after Battery Day. Tsuga has even stated that Panasonic has no concerns whatsoever about the premise of Tesla becoming a competitor in the battery sector in the future.
“We have begun development of a new automotive battery, the 4680, for Tesla in the United States. The electrode structure is difficult because of its high capacity. The electrode structure is difficult because of its large capacity. We will make prototypes in Japan and establish a manufacturing method. High reliability is one of our strengths. There is no concern that Tesla will become a competitor (although Tesla is promoting in-house production of the battery),” Tsuga said.
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