Samsung SDI's decision last month to build a $2.5 billion traction battery plant in the United States with automaker Stellantis may not be the last of its kind.Korean media reports that formal head of Samsung Lee Jae-yong (Lee Jae-yong) during his visit to Europe may find a partner among the automakers to organize the local production of traction batteries for electric cars.Image source: Samsung SDINot for sure, as explained by Business Korea, this partner will be Stellantis, because the issue will be discussed during the visit of Samsung Electronics vice-president to Germany, where the position of the auto industry is traditionally strong.The European subdivision Samsung SDI already has enterprises in Hungary and Austria, while the new site will have to be developed jointly with one of the interested carmakers.The program of Samsung's European visit also includes visits to the headquarters of Siemens and Infineon Technologies.The Korean conglomerate has a long-standing relationship with the former, and the latter could reportedly be an asset Samsung would like to buy.Lee Jae-yong will also visit the Netherlands, Belgium, Britain and France.In the first of these countries, he is interested in talks with ASML on the supply of lithographic equipment, and in the second, he will talk to the authorities of the united Europe about the possibility of Samsung receiving subsidies if it builds new plants in the region.
The traction battery market has already passed the stage of development when it was possible to endlessly experiment with the cell sizes used.Samsung SDI first wanted to increase the diameter of its cylindrical lithium batteries to 40 mm, but now Korean sources say that the reference point is the diameter of similar cells from Tesla, which reaches 46 mm.Image source: Samsung SDI If you consider that the cylinder height was originally supposed to be 80 mm, then Samsung SDI can achieve full unification in size with the cylindrical cells 4680, which begin producing Tesla and its close partner, Panasonic.However, LG Energy Solution is also experimenting with the creation of such batteries, so all three third-party manufacturers could eventually become suppliers of cells like 4680 to the Tesla assembly line.According to Business Korea, Samsung SDI now produces cylindrical lithium batteries in two sizes: 2170 and 1865, where the first two digits define the diameter of the cylinder and the second two define its height in millimeters.Work on the standardization of the third size is coming to an end, and Samsung SDI is inclined to choose the diameter of 46 mm as a basis.What will be the height of the cylinder, has not yet been decided, but for the purpose of unification, it will probably reach 80 mm, inherent in the products of Tesla, Panasonic and LG Energy Solution.According to SNE Research, now the cylindrical batteries account for 19% of the traction battery market, but by 2030 they will reach 26%.The alternatives are either prismatic hard-shell batteries or packaged soft-shell batteries.Samsung SDI is going to ramp up production of cylindrical-shaped batteries at its facilities in South Korea and Malaysia.
While LG Energy Solution and SK On already have facilities in the US and are building new ones, Samsung SDI will launch its first North American site only in the first half of 2025, when it and Stellantis will build a traction battery manufacturing facility in Indiana.The project budget will range from $2.5 to $3.1 billion.Image source: Samsung SDIIn the first phase, as explained by Bloomberg, the joint venture between Samsung SDI (51%) and Stellantis NV (49%) will be able to produce battery cells with a combined capacity of 23 GW‧h annually, but later production capacity can be increased to 33 or even 40 GW‧h per year.The plant will employ about 1,400 people, and the location is convenient for Stellantis because transmissions and internal combustion engines for the company's cars are already manufactured nearby, and cars are assembled nearby in Ohio and Illinois.Obviously, as Stellantis transitions to electric cars - by 2030 Stellantis expects to convert at least half of its U.S.sales to electric power - employees will migrate from traditional to new facilities, but their rights are closely guarded by the union.The Indiana government is ready to provide its partners with at least $186.5 million in subsidies and Kokomo municipality and other local structures will provide additional support.Stellantis itself intends to launch at least five large enterprises in Europe and North America by 2030 that could eventually produce traction batteries with a combined capacity of 400 GWh per year.By the end of the decade, the automobile concern intends to sell 5 million electric cars per year worldwide.By then, the entire European range of passenger cars will be converted to electric power.In March, Stellantis reached an agreement with LG Energy Solution to build a facility to produce traction batteries in Canada.The competitor Samsung SDI has facilities in China, South Korea and Hungary, and the Indiana plant will be its first in the United States.
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