Practically in my backyard in Wroclaw, Poland, LG Chem began mass production of NCM712 batteries in the 1st quarter of 2020.
These batteries dramatically cut down on the use of cobalt in electric vehicle batteries (7 parts nickel to 1 part cobalt to 2 parts manganese), thus helping to cut costs. These batteries also have greater energy density than previous batteries — but we don’t have an exact figure from LG Chem to share (naturally).
“LG Chem trialed the process late last year and begun mass production in the first quarter at its plant in Wroclaw, Poland, they said,” The Elec reports.
The Wroclaw LG Chem plant is the largest EV battery production facility in Europe and mostly produces batteries for the Renault Zoe and Volkswagen Group vehicles (such as the Audi e-tron and Porsche Taycan). These particular batteries, “LGX E78” batteries, are reportedly being used in the Volkswagen ID.3 and new Renault Zoe. Here are some specs on the LGX E78:
- Voltage: 3.65 V
- Capacity: 78 Ah
- Weight: 1,073 g
- Gravimetric energy density: 265 Wh/kg
- Chemistry: NCM 712
The NCM712 cathode is being produced by LG Chem as well as the battery cells. “LG Chem is aiming to self-supply up to 50% of cathode materials in the mid- to long-term. It has a plant at Iksan, North Jeolla Province. It is planning build another at Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province.
“The South Korean battery giant is also planning to produce NCMA by 2022, which will be its main cathode material of choice along with NCM712, going forward. They will replace NCM622 which has been used at its mainstay so far. LG Chem will also likely use NCM811 in the future.”
Christopher Arcus wrote about the NCM811 battery dream back in March 2018 for us. He wrote at the time, “A number of battery makers have announced their plans for NMC 811 batteries, with roadmaps presented including LG Chem, Samsung SDI, SK Innovation (second source), and CATL (second source). SK Innovation has already started production of NMC 811 cells, with LG Chem hot on their heels.” In the battery world, two years may indeed be considered hot on one’s heels — and there is certainly plenty of room in the market for multiple major players staggering their improvements.
SK Innovation is apparently now planning to produce NCM9½½ battery cells someday. It appears to match its name well with its ongoing innovation. Though, LG Chem has more contracts with automakers and is apparently neck and neck with Panasonic for the title of world’s largest EV battery producer. CATL is a decent distance below at #3 and SK Innovation is far down below the three of them.
LG Chem apparently excels at landing contracts with automakers, even if it isn’t typically first to market with a new battery chemistry. It’s position is particularly noteworthy when you consider that Panasonic’s position is heavily reliant on its partnership with Tesla. Though, LG Chem also now provides batteries for Tesla vehicles — in China.
LG Chem’s battery lineup is as follows:
Hat tip to PushEVs