Tesla is looking to diversify its supply of lithium-ion batteries, and is close to an agreement with Korean firm Samsung SDI, the Korea Herald reported, citing unidentified industry sources (an SDI official has denied the report).
“We understand SDI and Tesla are undergoing last-minute tests before the Korean company starts to supply its batteries,” said the mysterious source. Before the contract is inked, Samsung will test the battery life, and the two companies will jointly conduct driving and safety tests.
Samsung SDI already supplies batteries for BMW’s i3 and Chrysler’s Fiat 500e, and also has a contract with Volkswagen. The Tesla deal has been rumored for months.
Tesla is currently getting all its batteries from Panasonic. According to the Herald, the company also plans to add China’s BYD to its list of suppliers, spurred by fears of a supply disruption, as well as the growing technological edge of battery makers outside of Japan.
LG Chem, another Korean firm, was reportedly in the race against Samsung. “Tesla is sought after by Korean battery makers because of the sensation it is causing in the market, and because of the potential it holds,” said Deep Cycle.