LG Chem topped the world’s electric vehicle market in the first quarter, aided by the popularity of Tesla Model 3.
According to EV Volumes, LG Chem supplied batteries for full or partial electric vehicles with a combined output of 6.3 gigawatts, overtaking Panasonic to take the top spot in the global market. This is the first time the South Korean company has overtaken Panasonic in terms of vehicle battery output.
Other South Korean firms also fared well, with Samsung SDI taking the fourth place with combined battery output of 1.2 gigawatts, while SK Innovation was ranked in the seventh place with 0.6 gigawatts.
For LG Chem’s rise, EV Volumes said that the company supplying batteries for Tesla Model 3 played a significant role. During the first quarter, Tesla sold 88,461 units, far outpacing other EV makers.
EV Volumes said LG Chem batteries accounted for 14 percent of batteries used in Tesla vehicles produced during the first three months of the year. LG Chem has been supplying cylindrical batteries (diameter 21 mm, height 70 mm) produced at its plant in Nanjing, China to Tesla since September 2019. Panasonic is likely to see a further decline of its market share with Tesla planning to produce its own batteries. Until recently, Tesla had used only Panasonic batteries.
The increase in South Korean firms’ share of the global EV battery market, however, will hinge on the recovery of European and Chinese markets.
EV Volumes projects that the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to a 6.2 percent drop in EV sales in Europe this year.
China, however, is expected to see a surge in EV demand, aided by the extension of government subsidies, and the pandemic appearing to slow in China. China’s EV market is projected to be about 1.52 million units.
Despite the impact of the pandemic, South Korean companies are expecting demand to continue rising, and making preparations.
LG Chem is planning to further expand the Nanjing plant’s production capacity, which has been doubled since 2018, while Samsung SDI is looking to increase capacity of its plant in Hungary. SK Innovation is also expecting its plants in China and Hungary to go into full production.
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