Tesla nears LG electrode deal to support over 1.3 million EVs: report

Credit: LG Energy Solution

Tesla is reportedly nearing an electrode supply deal with Korean company LG Energy Solutions (LGES) that will support a high volume of electric vehicles (EVs), as the company prepares to lean further into in-house battery production.

Citing sources within the industry, Korean news outlet Naver said on Monday that it confirmed that Tesla has ordered six trillion won (~$4.4 billion) worth of electrodes from LGES—or enough to supply the production of between 1.3 and 1.4 million EVs. The report says that Tesla has already placed the order, though final details of the contract are still under discussion.

“Tesla’s purchasing team recently ordered electrodes worth 6 trillion won from LG,” said one source who is familiar with the situation. “Detailed discussions are currently underway and a contract is expected to be signed in the second half of the year.”

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The figure equates to around 70 percent of Tesla’s 2023 production of over 1.8 million units, and it represents a shift as Tesla prepares to begin producing its own EV batteries in-house at-scale.

“Supply will begin next year and is estimated to last 6 to 7 years, which coincides with Tesla’s facelift release cycle,” the source added. “This means that Tesla will make battery cells themselves by receiving electrodes, which are key materials. Tesla’s internalization of batteries has begun.”

In February, LGES CEO Kim Dong-myeong confirmed that the company would be starting production on Tesla’s newest-generation 4680 battery cells, which are crucial for the automaker’s Cybertruck batteries. The cells will be produced at LGES’s Ochang factory in North Chungcheong Province, South Korea, ahead of the company’s establishment of a U.S. factory in Arizona later this year.

Tesla has also been making progress on the construction of its own lithium refinery and plant in Robstown, Texas, which is eventually expected to produce 50 GWh of battery-grade lithium per year.

LGES has also been expanding its lithium supply chain in North America. In February, the company announced that it had signed a deal with WesCEF to supply the Korean company with up to 85,000 tons of lithium hydroxide and lithium concentrate, which it planned to use to assemble IRA-compliant batteries.

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Tesla nears LG electrode deal to support over 1.3 million EVs: report
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