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LGES's Arizona plant to make 46-Series cylindrical cells for Tesla

Image for representation purposes only and does not represent 46-Series battery cells. Source: LG Energy Solution

To pre-emptively respond to market demands for 46-Series cylindrical battery cells from Tesla, LG Energy Solution (LGES) has decided to utilize its Arizona EV battery facility as the production hub for 46-Series cylindrical batteries in North America. 

Modifying its original plan for the facility, which was to produce 2170 cells at an annual production capacity of 27GWh, the Arizona facility will instead produce 4680 battery - popularly known as the 'Tesla battery' - at an expanded annual capacity of 36GWh. 

The facility is expected to commence production in late 2025 as planned previously. LGES will make the 46-Series cylindrical batteries in its other facilities as well, including a pilot production line to be established in Ochang, Korea starting from the second-half of 2024, the company has said. 

RELATED: Hyundai, LG Energy announce $4.3 billion battery cell plant in the US

"In response to constantly evolving and diversified market needs, we will secure differentiated production competitiveness across all segments, ranging from premium and mainstream to affordable," said Youngsoo Kwon, CEO of LG Energy Solution. 

"This will become our core engine for consistent mid-to-long term growth, upon which we will become a global leader providing the world-best value to our customers", he added, at the company's Q3 earnings conference held on October 25, without naming Tesla. 

The company has also secured a 10-year supply agreement worth 20GWh/ year with Toyota Motor Corporation for battery modules consisting of high-nickel NCMA pouch-type cells already. 

On the other hand, the Nanjing facility in China will continue serve as the main production hub for 2170 cylindrical batteries, focusing on responding to market demands in China and Europe, and diversifying production portfolio including light electric vehicles (LEV). 

RELATED: Tesla investing $3.6b on Nevada for 100 GWh 4680 cell factory & semi-trucks

In premium EV segment where LGES already claims to have secured strong leadership with its high-nickel NCMA batteries (including the Tesla-spec 4680 cells), the company aims to further enhance product safety by improving thermal management technology through design optimization, and by developing module and pack cooling system.

Plans are also in place to boost the energy density of its NCMA batteries by increasing the proportion of nickel to over 90 percent, and at the same time, achieve fast-charging time of less than 15 minutes by adopting high-capacity, high-efficiency silicon anodes.

These batteries, which LGES aims to start production by 2025, are expected to bring a cost reduction of 10 percent with the reduced proportion of nickel and cobalt, along with enhanced energy density and thermal stability, according to the company. 

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Author : Dhiyanesh Ravichandran
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