LGES to expand battery cell factory in South Korea
LG Energy Solution has announced a total investment of 4 trillion won (€2.9 billion) by the end of 2026 in its Ochang plant in South Korea to increase production capacity for electric car round cells and build a new research and development centre.
With the expansion of the battery factory, LGES plans to create 1,800 additional jobs in Ochang. The total investment of 4 trillion won also includes the 730 billion won already announced in June, which will mainly go into round cells of the 4680 format – presumably for Tesla.
It is not known whether the renewed expansion beyond that announced in June is already based on a binding purchase agreement with a customer. LGES declined to give further details about the expansion to South Korean media. The planned production capacity is not known, and the cell format has not been specified.
The information from June – capacities for 9 GWh 4680 cells and 4 GWh 2170 cells are to be created for the 730 billion won – will probably not be extrapolated analogously to the announced investment sums: The new production lines are to use an advanced system and thus achieve more efficient production. In addition, the 4 trillion won also includes the expenditure for the research centre. However, it is not specified which share will go to production and which to the R&D centre.
However, there are local reports that the main product after the expansion will be the 4680 cell – that is, with a diameter of 46 millimetres and a height of 80 millimetres. Tesla uses this cell format in the Model Y from Austin with a structural battery pack, and the Semi e-truck also uses this format. The upcoming Cybertruck and Roadster models will also use the large-volume round cells.
In March, LGES announced the construction of a factory for EV round cells in the US state of Arizona. From the second half of 2024, 11 GWh of unspecified round cells for electric vehicles are to be built there. In addition, LGES is building a battery factory in Ontario, Canada, together with Stellantis – but pouch cells will be produced there.