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Report: LG Energy builds pilot line for 4680 cells for Tesla, wants to be ready before Panasonic

Tesla only invests in its own production of battery cells because its partners cannot deliver enough of them fast enough, CEO Elon Musk recently emphasized again. He had already made a similar statement on the battery day to present his own plans for a newly developed cell in XL format 4680 – and shortly afterwards the previous suppliers CATL, LG Energy Solutions and Panasonic announced that they were also involved in production of the new Tesla cells are interested. Panasonic has since confirmed that they want to set up a 4680 pilot line. And LG is now saying that the company has already started with it.

Tesla cells in 4680 format from South Korea

The 4680 pilot line is being built at the Ochang plant in the South Korean home of LG Energy Solutions, according to a translated article on the Chinese portal EqualOcean, the local electronics publication The Elec reported this week. Other Western media reported the news with The Elec as their source, but the website search could not find either an English or a Korean version. It could therefore have been taken from a printed edition.

In any case, according to EqualOcean, LG should have started building the pilot line recently. To this end, one of the lines in his Ochang plant will be rebuilt. Systems for assembly and electroplating have already been installed. The total investment is expected to be several million dollars. In addition to its home in South Korea, LG produces cells for Tesla in a factory in China.

The short report from EqualOcean does not provide a more detailed schedule. LG intends to be ready earlier than Panasonic with its 4680 production, but it still says. The Japanese company was initially Tesla’s exclusive battery partner, but with the Gigafactory in China, LG and then CATL were added. Panasonic reported at the end of 2020 that a pilot system for 4680 cells was planned for this year, which its chief financial officer confirmed in early February, according to a report by the news agency. The start is planned for the new Panasonic fiscal year, which begins in April 2021.

Big plans with your own batteries

With its own 4680 cells, presented in detail at Battery Day in September 2020, Tesla has big plans. With various innovations in size, material production and production, they should improve the technical properties of batteries and at the same time cost significantly less and take up less space for production than conventional ones. Tesla itself is building a pilot production with the goal of 10 gigawatt hours of annual capacity next to its electric car plant in Fremont. According to CEO Musk, the first location for the targeted large-scale 4680 production is to be the German Gigafactory near Berlin with initially 100 gigawatt hours and later 200-250 gigawatt hours per year.

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