[Source: LG Energy Solution Ltd.]
South Korean battery major LG Energy Solution Ltd. is adding prismatic type to its lithium-ion battery lineup, which would make the world’s No. 2 the first in the industry offering all three types in the Li-ion cell family.
Ahead of its Kospi debut on Jan. 27, the company has revealed to institutional investors that it could add prismatic form to its portfolio to broaden customer base.
Its local rivals Samsung SDI and SK On are moving onto prismatic cells with lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) currently led by China’s CATL as top EV makers Tesla and Volkswagen last year adopted prismatic type.
LG Energy Solution supplies battery cells for EVs in cylindrical and pouch types. Samsung SDI already makes LFP and SK On whose mainstay is in pouch type embarked on prismatic cells.
The Korean producers have turned attention to the rectangular packaging after Volkswagen announced at its Power Day event in March last year that up to 80 percent of its electric vehicles by 2030 would use prismatic batteries.
According to an official report from Volkswagen, 72% of EV cars supplied to Europe from January to September last year bore Volkswagen marque.
[Source: Samsung SDI Co.]
CATL, No. 1 power behind global EVs, not only produces prismatic batteries, but is adding its first overseas factory in Germany where Volkswagen is based. The factory will begin operation this year.
There are three different types of battery format: cylindrical, prismatic and pouch. These battery formats differ depending on how the cathode, anode, and separator are stored in the outer shell. In cylindrical batteries, the cathode, anode, and separator are rolled up and packed into a cylinder-shaped can while in pouch batteries they are stacked and wrapped with a sealed flexible foil. In prismatic batteries, large sheets of anodes, cathodes, and separators are rolled up and fit into an aluminum can in cubic form and are filled with electrolytes.
Each type of battery has its own advantages and disadvantages. Prismatic batteries are more resistant to external impact, but they have relatively low energy density. Cylindrical batteries are cheaper but require many to power an EV because of lower capacity. Pouch cells are thin and have high energy density, but not as rigid.
Tesla mainly uses cylindrical batteries while GM and Hyundai use pouch batteries. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen mainly use prismatic batteries.
LG Energy Solution plans to increase production capacity which was 155 gigawatt-hour (GWh) last year to 400 GWh by 2025 by constructing overseas factories. It also plans on investing in all-solid-state battery development and waste battery businesses for raw materials procurement.
By Kim Woo-hyun and Susan Lee
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