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Tesla’s new 4680 battery cell to be produced at LG Korean factory

LG is reportedly preparing to produce Tesla’s new 4680 battery cell at a pilot production line at its own factory in South Korea.

When Tesla unveiled its plan to produce its own new tabless battery cell in a bigger format with a new chemistry using its own machinery designed in-house last year, some people misunderstood it as Tesla trying to move away from getting battery cells from suppliers.

But CEO Elon Musk made it clear that Tesla still plans to buy as many battery cell as it can from suppliers:

“The reason Tesla is doing its own cell production is in order to accelerate the growth. It is not to make less use of our cell suppliers. In fact, I want to be really clear Tesla wants to increase purchases from cell suppliers. And we’ve been very clear with our cell suppliers, whether it be CATL or Panasonic or LG, that we will take as many batteries as they can produce, so — and we urge them to increase their production and we will buy as much as they can send to us.”

Lately, we have been learning that these cells from other suppliers will also be Tesla’s own new 4680 cells.

Last year, Panasonic announced plans to produce the Tesla 4680 cell itself.

LG Chem, now called LG Energy Solutions, has also hinted at producing a battery cell that sounded a lot like Tesla’s 4680 battery cell.

Now reports coming out of Korea are stating that LG is building a new pilot production line for the cell at its ochang factory:

“LG energy solutions has recently begun to build a pilot production line for Tesla 4680 batteries, according to the elec, a South Korean media report. It is currently transforming some production lines in its ochang plant, and the assembly and electroplating equipment have been installed. LG is likely to invest millions of dollars in the line, a figure comparable to rival Panasonic, which is also preparing pilot production for Tesla’s Suminoe plant in Osaka, according to people familiar with the matter. LG aims to complete the pilot line before Panasonic starts mass production of batteries.”

While they reportedly plan to beat Panasonic to produce the cells, Panasonic’s own timeline hasn’t been clear beyond starting production by the end of the next fiscal year starting April 1.

Tesla is also building the new 4680 cells itself at its own pilot production plant in Fremont, and it is working to deploy full-scale production at Gigafactory Berlin and Gigafactory Texas.

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