LG Energy solution is a subsidiary of LG Chem which is currently developing LPF batteries in its Daejeon lab. Lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries developed are specially for selling to Chinese companies. By next year at the earliest, the production is to start.
LG chem is focused on making nickel, cobalt, manganese cathode chemistry, and also NCMA (nickel, cobalt, manganese, and aluminum). With reduced cobalt, the company has been trying to cut costs, and also attempting to have the best energy density.
However, now the company seems to find potential in the LPF batteries too despite low energy density. These LPF batteries are to take pouch form rather than traditional cylindrical or prismatic shape. As they are cobalt and nickel free, it is less expensive and much safer. Other leading EV makers in the market are also considering LPF batteries. Chinese battery makers are going for various options like CATL unveiled sodium-ion batteries which are integrated with lithium-ion batteries.
The Chinese EV market is going rapidly, along with the innovations. As LG Energy Solutions enters the Chinese market, it is to compete with top battery makers in the country like CATL and BYD.
EV battery market
LG Energy solutions are to make the LPF batteries in its Pilot plant, which is to be ready by 2022. Recently Tesla also opted to shift towards LPF batteries. After some slowdown, LG Chem is also shifting towards what the industry is following. Furthermore, it is said that the ones being developed currently are suitable for entry-level electric vehicles or heavy vehicles.
The other vehicles with higher ranges and energy densities will have to use other batteries. But China has many potential EV makers who are selling cars for lower ranges for daily commute within the city. Emerging EV makers are looking out for cheaper options, where LG Energy Solutions could fill in the gap if it manages to be better than the competitors.
Tesla is going to use iron-based batteries, which get heated less and are much safer. Recently Tesla customers are being offered two options for batteries. Model 3 Standard Range can be ordered with nickel-based or iron-based. Where the nickel-based battery is productive when it is 100% charged, but an iron-based is effective with an 80% charge.
Every automaker seems to be having its own strategy depending don’t what the consumers want. It is too early to say which would be effective until all the models are released in the market.