LG Energy Solution to Introduce High-Capacity 4680-Type Cylindrical Battery Cells

373

LGES’s 4680-Type Cells

  • LG Energy Solution (LGES) to launch new high-capacity 4680-type cylindrical battery cells
  • 4680-type cells feature larger form factor, enhanced energy density, and lower manufacturing costs
  • LGES’s 4680-type cells initially intended for Tesla’s all-electric vehicles
  • Multiple other OEMs and battery suppliers express interest in adopting 46xx products
  • LGES plans to begin series production in South Korea, expand to the U.S. and potentially China
  • Production in the U.S. critical due to Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) incentives

LG Energy Solution (LGES), a major global player in the production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), is gearing up to introduce its own high-capacity cylindrical battery cells. According to a recent report by Naver, relayed by Drive Tesla Canada, LGES CEO Kim Dong-Myung revealed that the new 4680-type cylindrical format (46 mm diameter and 80 mm height) is imminent, potentially launching as early as August 2024.

The 4680-type cells boast a larger form factor compared to existing cylindrical cells, which results in enhanced energy density and reduced manufacturing costs per energy unit. Furthermore, the simplified battery pack design, featuring fewer individual battery cells to connect and control, adds to their appeal. However, the increased size also presents several challenges that must be overcome to ensure high-quality, dependable production.

Tesla initially unveiled the 4680-type batteries a few years ago, manufacturing them in-house at its California pilot facility and the Giga Texas factory. Although Tesla is currently the sole EV manufacturer utilizing the 4680-type format, various other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have expressed interest in adopting new, high-capacity cylindrical batteries with a 46 mm diameter and varying heights. Moreover, an increasing number of battery suppliers, such as Panasonic and CATL, are joining the 46xx product lineup.

LGES is anticipated to commence series production of the 4680-type cells in August at its Ochang facility in South Korea. Additionally, the company plans to establish production in the United States, specifically at its Arizona factory, which is presently under construction, around 2025. This U.S. production expansion is crucial due to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA), which ties the $7,500 federal tax credit and other incentives to local production. The report also suggests that LGES might potentially produce the 4680-type batteries in China, at the Nanjing factory, which currently manufactures smaller 2170-type cells for Tesla Model 3/Model Y.

In a separate development, LGES is expected to begin production of its own LFP batteries (lithium iron phosphate cathode chemistry) around the second half of 2025. Although LG Chem’s development of LFP batteries was rumored in 2021 and confirmed in 2022, it remains to be seen whether these batteries will be utilized for EVs or exclusively for battery energy storage systems (BEES).