Samsung rumoured to supply cells to Volkswagen


Samsung SDI is rumoured to produce part of the standardised battery cells for future electric cars announced by Volkswagen at Power Day. However, it remains to be seen what scope of development the South Korean company will be responsible for.

This was reported by the portal The Elec with reference to persons familiar with the matter. According to the report, Samsung SDI will receive part of the production of the prismatic unit cell. The Elec does not give any details on the possible start of production and delivery or the agreed capacity.

Volkswagen announced the concept of the unit cell in March. The format of the prismatic cell is always the same, but the cell chemistry is adapted to the respective models or vehicle segments. These cells are to be used in 80 per cent of the VW Group’s electric cars.

It is still open how strongly Samsung SDI will be involved in the development: here the Elec only speculates. It is likely that Volkswagen will specify the specifications and functions of the unit cell, and Samsung SDI will then develop and manufacture the cells. However, this has not been confirmed. Like other carmakers, VW has built up battery cell know-how in recent years and also has stakes in two battery cell manufacturers.

It is also unclear for which segment the unit cells from Samsung SDI will be used. What is known is that Northvolt is to supply cells for premium vehicles to the VW Group from 2023 – probably for vehicles from Audi and Porsche, for example.

Another battery partner of Volkswagen for the unit cells is reportedly Gotion High-Tech. Gotion (instead of Northvolt) is the new partner for the cell factory in Salzgitter, where unit cells for the volume segment are to be built from 2025. In addition, there were reports in July that Gotion could also produce unit cells for VW in China.

VW bought cells from Samsung competitors LGES and SKI

The report also contains no information on the plant where the unit cells for VW are to be produced. VW had announced at Power Day that it would build six cell factories in Europe by 2030, each with a production capacity of 40 GWh. It also remains open whether Samsung SDI will become a partner for one of the as yet unconfirmed European battery plants, or will supply the cells from one of its existing plants to the Wolfsburg-based company.

So far, Wolfsburg has been buying its cells mainly from Samsung’s South Korean competitors LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation. As reported a few days after the ‘Power Day’ in March, Volkswagen had told the two companies a few days before the presentation of the unit cell that their current battery technology was largely excluded from the group’s future plans.

If Samsung SDI did indeed win the order from Volkswagen, the German carmaker would become the South Korean company’s largest battery customer. BMW currently accounts for around 30 per cent of sales in the EV battery business, with the Stellantis Group accounting for a further 20 per cent. In addition, Samsung SDI is the battery supplier of the US American start-up Rivian. The volumes here are still manageable, but could increase.


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