LG Chem wants to convert part of its battery cell production in South Korea for the manufacture of Tesla batteries. According to a media report, the capacity at LG Chem’s plant in Nanjing, China, which has been supplying Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory up to now, is no longer sufficient.
As reported, Tesla obtains cells from CATL as well as LG Chem in its Chinese plant. The news agency Reuters now claims to have learned that LG Chem will also manufacture cells for Tesla in a South Korean plant in the future and will convert production for this purpose. The news agency cites an unnamed insider as the source of information.
“Tesla is asking not only LG Chem but other suppliers to increase supplies, as its cars are selling well,” a second insider, also not named, told Reuters. LG Chem did not want to comment on the information to the news agency.
The plant conversion in Korea is necessary because Tesla has so far mainly relied on round cells, while other car manufacturers usually prefer prismatic cells or pouch cells – LG Chem’s production is designed accordingly. In Gigafactory 1 in Nevada, Panasonic manufactures so-called 2170 round cells for the Model 3 and Model Y models assembled in the USA. These cells have a diameter of 21 millimetres and are 70 millimetres long. There have also been reports that the CATL cells for Tesla are prismatic cells.
It is unknown exactly which type of cell LG Chem produces for Tesla. Last year it was only said that LG Chem was converting its battery plant in Nanjing to build “a different type of car battery”.
With the recently announced production and delivery figures for the second quarter, Tesla had done well despite the corona restrictions. The jointly reported Model 3 and Model Y production declined by only 14 per cent to 75,946 units compared to the first quarter, even though the main plant in Fremont did not produce electric cars for much of the quarter. Production of the Model 3 in Shanghai must, therefore, have been correspondingly high – Tesla does not disclose the production figures of the individual plants.