LG Energy Solution is scheduled to invest around 730 billion won to build new battery lines at its Ochang plant, North Chungcheong Province, to be completed next year. Photo courtesy of LG Energy Solution

4680 cells will be mass produced later next year

South Korea’s LG Energy Solution announced this week that the company planned to build cylindrical battery facilities to churn out the so-called “4680 cells,” which are used by US electric vehicle maker Tesla.

Toward that end, LG Energy Solution is scheduled to spend

The company plans to spend 580 billion won ($450 million) on its Ochang factory, around 100 kilometers south of Seoul. It is also set to invest 150 billion won for the 2170 cell lines.

LG Energy Solution strives to start to set up the facilities later this year with the aim of churning out products during the latter half of 2023. This is the first time for the firm to start mass production of the 4680 cells.

The 4680 cell is about the size of the battery as it is 46 millimeters in diameter and 80 millimeters in length. Likewise, the 2170 cell is 21 millimeters in diameter and 70 millimeters in length.

“Many carmakers have shown their interest in cylindrical batteries across the world. We decided to cater to the new demands,” LG Energy Solution Vice Chairman Kwon Young-soo said in a statement.

He added that the company would build a product portfolio, which includes both pouch-type and cylindrical batteries, to meet the demands of its clients.

Prof. Kim Pil-soo at Daelim University said that LG Energy solution would target Tesla, which vies to use the 4680 batterie cells for its Model Y this year.

“Tesla has vowed to roll out batteries on its own. But it would take time for the company to secure all the necessary technologies and produce enough products,” he said.

“Before then, Tesla would have to depend on traditional battery makers like LG Energy Solution and Samsung SDI. LG Energy Solution seems to see a business opportunity in that.”

Kim commented that LG Energy Solution had already signed a contract with Tesla, although the company refused to confirm that.

Samsung SDI is a cross-town rival of LG Energy Solution. South Korea is also home to another major batter manufacturer of SK Innovation.