Tesla’s 4680 battery cells could be produced by LG by 2023. According to sources, the cells, which will power Tesla’s all-electric vehicles, could be built in production sites that LG is considering in either the United States or Europe.
While Tesla and LG have not yet agreed to a deal that would see the battery supplier taking on a more robust role beyond its job in China, the company plans to build a factory in the United States that would make cells of EVs and energy storage systems, a source told Reuters. The idea behind the production facility would be to cater to both U.S. and international customers, including startups. While it didn’t list any companies, in particular, one of Reuters’ sources indicated that it was hoping Tesla would be a client.
In September, the 4680 cells, which were unveiled by Tesla during its Battery Day event, aim to revolutionize the EV company’s already mainstream and popular products. While cutting costs and increasing energy density through new production processes and materials, Tesla plans to develop its new 4680 cells in-house at a production facility just down the street from its Fremont Factory in Northern California. Kato Road, as it is called within the Tesla community, is the building where Tesla’s battery project continues on.
LG Chem has made samples of the 4680 cells, the sources said, but scaling up production has been the real challenge.
“LG plans to produce 4680 cells at its new U.S. factory. They plan to build a new 4680 cell line to supply Tesla’s Giga Berlin in Europe,” the source told Reuters.
While LG is not familiar with building and mass-producing large cylindrical cells, Tesla is a company that the battery supplier is willing to take risks for because the rewards could be exponential. The source, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “Tesla is a major customer, and LG can take risks.”
Additionally, LG hasn’t secured any orders from Tesla for the 4680 cells. 2170 cells are still being used and are in rising demand, as the Model 3 and Model Y are widely popular in China, and LG continues to provide cells for both projects.
LG currently supplies battery cells to GM in a $2.3 billion joint venture. It also supplies batteries to Tesla in China, but so does CATL, another battery supplier. Lucid Motors is also in a partnership with LG Chem, and the two companies have a multi-year deal.