LG Chem will be supplying lithium-ion batteries to Tesla for use in Roadster battery-pack upgrades as part of a new deal between the two companies, according to recent reports.
Tesla has confirmed the news, so this isn’t simply interesting speculation, but rather a mark of the growth of the industry, given that Tesla now sees a need to source electric vehicle batteries from a company other than Panasonic. Though, perhaps this partnership will never move beyond battery supply for Roadster upgrades?
As we reported only yesterday, Tesla just sent out emails to Roadster owners informing them that the battery-pack upgrades that were rolled out a few months ago were now available for any model years, not just the newer models as had been the case before. Presumably, the deal with LG Chem is related to this announcement.
The Wall Street Journal provides more information:
Earlier this year, Tesla began offering a $29,000 upgrade to original Roadster customers to replace the battery in the vehicle with a new pack and make other improvements. The new pack bumped up the range to around 400 miles, a 35% increase. Those upgrades are continuing today.
Tesla confirmed the contract with the battery maker after Japanese news agency Nihon Keisai Shimbun reported that Tesla officials were negotiating with LG on a battery contract. LG Chem is a battery-making affiliate of LG Electronics. Tesla declined to comment on any current negotiation with the company.
For those who don’t follow the electric vehicle (EV) battery industry that much, it should probably be noted here that LG Chem is currently the battery supplier for the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and will be the supplier for the Chevy Bolt EV as well. Quite low battery cell prices of $145/kWh have been announced for those vehicles. The company also supplies batteries to Audi, Ford, and Renault. Nissan is apparently considering switching to LG Chem’s batteries as well.