Industry sources recently noted that LG Energy Solution, the South Korean conglomerate’s new battery division, will be a key supplier of nickel cobalt manganese aluminum (NCMA) batteries for American EV maker Tesla. The NCMA batteries are expected to be utilized for the Made-in-China Model Y, which will be produced at Gigafactory Shanghai.
In a recent report, The Korea Times noted that LG Energy Solution is on track to become one of the first companies to produce batteries with NMCA anode materials for electric cars next year. Tesla’s Model Y batteries, which will be supplied by LG’s Nanjing plant in China, will feature a cathode that is 90% nickel and less than 5% cobalt. The NMCA batteries that the South Korean firm will be producing for Tesla will also be adopting a cylindrical form factor.
Rumors about LG being tapped by Tesla as the Made-in-China Model Y’s key battery supplier have been around for some time. LG Chem, for its part, has declined to issue a comment about the recent reports. “We cannot confirm this as we cannot specify the names of our clients,” a company official said.
NCMA batteries with high-nickel and low-cobalt content are expected to provide the Made-in-China Model Y with several advantages, such as long range and impressive performance. Pricing for the batteries has reportedly been optimized by LG as well, with the company bringing down costs by reducing cobalt and substituting it with aluminum.
Compared to rival high-nickel batteries in the market, LG Energy Solution may be a cut above the competition. LG has cited the work of Hanyang University Professor Sun Yang-kook, whose paper concluded that LG’s NCMA batteries outperform Samsung’s NCA and SK’s NCM9 cells. Both Samsung and SK’s batteries also have a nickel content of 90%.
It’s not just Tesla that will be supplied by LG Energy Solution. Apart from the Silicon Valley-based EV maker, LG is also involved in the development and production of General Motors’ Ultium batteries, which are a key component for vehicles like the GMC Hummer EV.