LG Chem is using NCM712 cathode material for its battery production in Poland, TheElec confirmed Monday.
Use of NCM712, or nickel, cobalt and manganese in 7 to 1 to 2 ratio, will increase energy density of batteries which will increase travel distance per charge and lower the use of cobalt that will save cost, people familiar with the matter said.
LG Chem trialed the process late last year and begun mass production in the first quarter at its plant in Wroclaw, Poland, they said.
Some batteries have already been supplied to its clients, they said. It is likely being used by Volkswagen for its Modular Electric Drive (MEB) platform, they added.
This is the first time the South Korean battery giant is using NCM712. The cathode material are also self-produced. Previously, LG Chem ordered cathode materials from vendors such as Nichia, Umicore, Posco Chemical and L&F.
LG Chem is aiming to self-supply up to 50% of cathode materials in the mid- to long-term. It has a plant at Iksan, North Jeolla Province. It is planning build another at Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province.
The South Korean battery giant is also planning to produce NCMA by 2022, which will be its main cathode material of choice along with NCM712, going forward. They will replace NCM622 which has been used at its mainstay so far. LG Chem will also likely use NCM811 in the future.
Using more nickel has become a requisite rather than an option __ rival Samsung SDI is planning to apply nikel, cobalt and aluminum, or NCM, with over 90% nickel for cathode materials.
SK Innovation is also already using NCM811 for some of its battery cells. The company is aiming to apply NCM9½½ further down the line, where nickel, cobalt and manganese will be used in 9 to 0.5 to 0.5 ratio.
LG Chem, meanwhile, is taking a more slower, but safer transition. It wants to guarantee and safety before applying them, sources within the company said.