Tesla battery supplier LG Chem prepares to triple cylindrical cell production, hints at own 4680 cell

LG Chem, who recently started supplying Tesla with cylindrical battery cells, announced that it is preparing to triple cylindrical cell production.

The company even hinted that it would make its own battery cells like Tesla’s new 4680 cell.

Most automakers making electric vehicles are using pouch cells.

On the other hand, Tesla has pioneered the use of cylindrical battery cells in its electric vehicles and several other companies have recently indicated that they will follow the design concept.

For most of its existence, Tesla was only sourcing its cells from Panasonic for its cars, but it more recently approved LG Chem and CATL to supply cells for the Model 3 vehicles made in China.

Now LG Chem indicated that it plans to triple the production of its cylindrical battery cells (via Reuters):

“Electric vehicle battery maker LG Chem plans to triple production capacity for cylindrical batteries used by Tesla and others, and is considering expansion in Europe and North America to meet surging demand, it said on Wednesday.”

The Korean manufacturing company also announced that it is working on a new “form-factor” cylindrical cell with higher energy density:

“LG Chem also said it was developing “new form-factor” cylindrical batteries which will boost energy density five-fold and power by six-fold, without elaborating.”

Interestingly, these numbers are exactly the same improvements Tesla announced for its 4680 cell revealed at its Battery Day last month:

A bigger form factor, enabled by a tabless design, is also the main reason why Tesla can achieve 5 times the energy of its previous cell.

The news comes after we heard rumors that Tesla is looking to acquire a stake in LG’s battery business, which might be spun out of the broader LG Chem.

LG didn’t give a clear timeline on tripling cylindrical battery cell production or bringing this new battery form factor to market.

Electrek’s Take

This is interesting. I expect that at least some of this new battery production is going to Tesla.

But I am more interested in this new form factor that sounds just like Tesla’s 4680.

What is that about?

Tesla was clear that they can’t be alone in increasing battery production so they might be working with LG Chem?

It could explain the rumors of Tesla buying into the company?

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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