LG Chem has begun to mass produce batteries for Tesla’s Model 3 electric vehicles from its Nanjing plant in China, according to industry sources Sept. 18.
The US-based EV maker will be using LG Chem’ 21700 type batteries using NCM811 that boast a nickel proportion of 80% or more. The LG company previously supplied the NCM811 to electric buses. This is the first time to supply an automobile, the sources said.
Until now, Tesla has been supplied by Japan’s Panasonic, which uses NCA, which is another type of high nickel cathode material.
LG Chem convinced Tesla to switch to NCM811 batteries based on the longer driving distances per charge. It also hinted that it may be able to begin mass producing NCMA batteries, which is even higher in nickel, beginning in 2022 to apply to EVs.
The Model 3, which now receiving pre-orders in China, can run 480km on a single charge for the standard model. The cars sold in Korea are slightly heavier and have a single charge driving distance of 353km.
Upon requests from Tesla, LG Chem is now preparing to expand its battery lines. Already, it has doubled the production volume from its Nanjing plant from last year. Nanjing is where LG said in January this year that it would invest up to 1.2 trillion won to expand the facilities.
According to market research firm SNE Research, LG Chem is expected to churn out up to 1 billion cylindrical battery cells per year from Nanjing. In 2017, the firm was producing 630 million such cells.
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