Tesla has recently introduced several battery innovations, including the new tabless 4680 cell, which it is believed to be producing in small quantities on a pilot line at its Fremont plant. However, the California carmaker has no intention of trying to produce all the cells it needs on its own.
“The reason Tesla is doing its own cell production is in order to accelerate the growth. It is not to make less use of our cell suppliers,” said Elon Musk at last September’s unveiling of the 4680 cell. “In fact, I want to be really clear Tesla wants to increase purchases from cell suppliers. And we’ve been very clear with our cell suppliers, whether it be CATL or Panasonic or LG, that we will take as many batteries as they can produce, and we urge them to increase their production and we will buy as much as they can send to us.”
Last year, Panasonic announced plans to produce the Tesla 4680 cell. Now Electrek reports that LG Energy Solutions is building a new pilot production line for the 4680 cell at its factory in Ochang, South Korea.
“[LG] is currently transforming some production lines in its Ochang plant, and the assembly and electroplating equipment have been installed,” EqualOcean reports. “LG is likely to invest millions of dollars in the line, a figure comparable to rival Panasonic, which is also preparing pilot production for Tesla’s Suminoe plant in Osaka, according to people familiar with the matter. LG aims to complete the pilot line before Panasonic starts mass production of batteries.”
Tesla is also gearing up to produce the new cells at scale at the new Gigafactories in Berlin and Austin.