LG Chem has invested only in batteries with axis longer than 600mm this year, TheElec has learned.
Making battery cells longer this way will increase energy density and lower cost at the same time, people familiar with the matter said.
LG Chem’s battery CAPEX this year will be 3 trillion won. Excluding spending on factory land and other backbone facilities, investment into equipment is expected to be less than 1 trillion won out of that total.
However, this will likely increase to over 1 trillion won next year from the need to install new assembly equipment to support the making of long axis batteries.
Last year, LG invested in both 300mm batteries and 600mm batteries.
Next year, the company may even invest in 800mm axis batteries alongside 600mm ones.
Investment into 800mm will likely be done in its factory in Poland and the US where it has a joint venture with General Motors.
Batteries with axis longer than 500mm is considered long.
LG Chem’s 600mm batteries can accommodate Volkswagen’s MEB, Hyundai’s E-GMP and GM Ultium electric vehicle platforms. These platforms can add modules to the front and back of the cars __ as long as the battery keeps to the same diameter, they can become longer.
Longer battery cells can extend travel distance per charge by 10% and save 10% in costs. Less battery modules are required which will lower defect rate and improve fuel economy.
LG Chem is confidant in its ability to produce long axis batteries thanks to its lamination process competence, which rivals don’t have.
Lamination process has an advantage over Z-stacking used by SK Innovation in making batteries longer.
Cathode and anode are stacked on the separator, then arrayed through the lamination process. This reduces the chance that the batteries won’t fold or flap out.
LG Chem has 150 trillion won in remaining orders. Its move to longer axis batteries will likely increase its production capacity going forward.