Cylindrical battery cell emerges as new battleground for Korean and Chinese makers

2022.09.27 13:30:18 | 2022.09.27 15:32:54

[Source: Samsung SDI Co.]이미지 확대

[Source: Samsung SDI Co.]

South Korean electric vehicle battery majors have turned watchful after Chinese battery giant CATL announced its plan to market cylindrical battery cells to challenge dominant producers of Korea.

According to industry sources on Monday, CATL will supply cylindrical battery cells to BMW electric car NEUE KLASSE starting 2025. The cylindrical battery cells the Chinese firm will produce are said to be the 4680 battery type that is 46 mm wide and 80 mm long.

CATL’s battery factories in China and Europe that will be dedicated to the supplies for the German auto giant’s EVs are each equipped with an annual capacity of 12 gigawatt-hour (GWh).

The news comes as the global demand for cylindrical-type EV batteries grows for its advantage of having more power compared with cylindrical cells. Global EV leader Tesla is the primary employer of cylindrical cells.

This means more challenges for Korean rechargeable battery makers LG Energy Solution and Samsung SDI, which have been the world’s main suppliers of cylindrical cells along with Japan’s Panasonic. CATL is the world’s largest battery maker focusing on prismatic cells.

[Source: LG Energy Solution Ltd.]이미지 확대

[Source: LG Energy Solution Ltd.]

Samsung SDI would face a direct challenge from CATL because it has been a major cylindrical cells supplier for BMW. Samsung Group chief Jay Y. Lee met with BMW Chairman Oliver Zipse in Europe in June for stronger ties in the EV battery business.

The Korean battery maker is currently constructing a new battery factory for cylindrical battery cells measuring 46 mm in diameter in Cheonan, south of Seoul, Korea.

LG Energy Solution, the second largest EV battery maker in the world after China’s CATL, is also reviewing to set up a new battery plant in Arizona, the United States. Market experts anticipate the company’s new plant will be devoted to cylindrical battery cells. The company is expected to share details of the project in November, according to an LG Energy Solution official.

By Lee Yoon-jae and Cho Jeehyun

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