Samsung SDI is preparing a pilot line for the production of 4680 battery cells for Tesla at its Cheonan plant in South Korea, according to Korean media. The first equipment for the production lines is said to have already been ordered.
The report comes from the S.Korean EV news site The Elec, which is usually well informed on battery technology. The equipment for electrode production is said to have been ordered from Hanwha, the machines for cell assembly from Koem. Both suppliers apparently already have experience with 4680 cells: According to the report, they have also supplied equipment to Tesla for its 4680 pilot production in Fremont.
Samsung SDI’s pilot line will initially offer an annual capacity of just under 1 GWh and can later be expanded to 8 to 12 GWh. Within a year, 4680 production is to be verified. In the long term, the mass production of 4680 battery cells is expected to take place offshore at Samsung SDI’s battery plant in Seremban, Malaysia, he said.
Samsung SDI is not only developing 4680-format battery cells for Tesla but also shorter cells with the same diameter for other car manufacturers. The Elec has not said whether these shorter 4640 and 4660 cells for the potential customer BMW will also be tested in Cheonan and built in Seremban.
South Korean competitor LG Energy Solution is building its production line for 4680 cells for Tesla at the Ochang plant. According to reports, the line will have an annual production capacity of 9 GWh. The Japanese cell manufacturer Panasonic already has its pilot line in operation in Wakayama Prefecture and has already delivered 4680 sample cells to Tesla. Panasonic plans to start series production in March 2023.
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