In an effort to secure a contract with Tesla and dominate Panasonic, LG Energy Solutions has begun construction of a pilot production line for the new Tesla 4680 batteries, unveiled at Battery Day in September 2020. According to the information, some production equipment is already installed at the factory.
Recently, several South Korean media reported that LG Energy Solutions began preparations to build a pilot production line for the Tesla 4680 battery in January 2021. The company is reportedly currently upgrading part of the production line at its Ochang plant, where the assembly and electroplating equipment has already been installed.
The equipment of the electroplating workshop consists of baths for solutions and electrolytes, in which chemical and electrochemical processes are carried out for the preparation of the surface of metals and the application of coatings, as well as from power supplies of the baths with the direct current.
Several sources said LG's goal is to complete an experimental production line before Panasonic begins mass production of 4680 batteries. This demonstrates LG's commitment to getting its pilot production line up and running before Panasonic's.
In October 2020, Panasonic announced that it is working on a new battery cell that will be based on the recently unveiled Tesla 4680 battery. Panasonic CFO Hirokazu Umeda said the company has the know-how for the new battery and is preparing to launch a prototype production line. Additional Panasonic manufacturing facilities will open at Gigafactory Nevada in 2021. The new line will increase the plant's capacity by about 10 percent by 2022.
Tesla is currently manufacturing a new type of battery at its pilot plant on Cato Road, Fremont, and plans to increase the annual production of the battery line to 10 GWh by the end of 2021. However, the company's CEO Elon Musk stressed that Tesla will continue to buy batteries from other suppliers. Panasonic has always been Tesla's main partner, but it appears that the battery maker is no longer able to meet the growing demand from the EV maker, as Tesla also buys batteries from LG Chem and CATL.
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