As many of you know, I’m from Florida but I’ve ended up in Wrocław, Poland. I’ve now lived here for over 7 years. It’s a beautiful city of ~1 million and has several large international employers sucking off the blood of the insane number of young adults who go to college/university here and then also stick around to settle down. LG is one of those employers. It has LG Electronics, LG Display, and LG Innotek arms here.
Getting to the point of the story, LG Chem recently announced that it is looking to open an EV battery manufacturing plant in Europe that will produce ~50,000 EV batteries a year… and Wrocław is reportedly the top contender for that.
By volume, Panasonic is currently the largest producer of electric vehicle battery cells, specifically because it produces the battery cells for Tesla Motors. However, LG Chem seems to have the most agreements with automakers to supply them with lithium-ion batteries. This includes big players like GM, the Renault-Nissan Alliance, Daimler/Mercedes, and Volkswagen Group (which has Audi, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda, and Volkswagen, among others, under its umbrella… for now).
At the moment, LG Chem has a South Korea EV battery factory that can pump out 200,000 batteries a year as well as a factory in Holland, Michigan, that can pump out 50,000 batteries a year. It is building a factory in China that will be able to produce 100,000 EV batteries a year.
Getting up to a total production capacity of 400,000 batteries a year is nice, but I hope LG has much bigger plans than that for the coming years. If it wants to become the #1 EV battery manufacturer on the planet, I think it’ll need to ramp up production very quickly to meet the surge in EV demand we’re going to see within the coming few years. And that’s only more true when you look at recent EV battery cost projections from GM/LG Chem.
Furthermore, 400,000 small batteries ≠ 400,000 large batteries, and the EV world should be shifting to large batteries, like GM’s Chevy Bolt (and a yet-to-be-named European version of the Bolt) will use.
Here’s a Bolt-load of related stories for more of the backstory: