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LG Chem, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation in battery war

LG Chem Ltd, Samsung SDI Co. and SK Innovation Co. enter the escalation of fierce battles as the competitiveness of electric vehicles (EV). The three South Korean tech giants are entering the most crucial stage in which electric vehicle battery manufacturers have risen sharply in recent weeks and increasing demand for environmentally friendly vehicles.

Tinuku LG Chem, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation in battery war

LG Chem and SK Innovation hope to introduce a high-energy NCM811 battery cell where the EVs have a range of over 500 kilometers on a single charge, while Samsung SDI showcases the latest technology in battery packs and modules during the Frankfurt International Motor Show this year.

LG Chem has focused on increasing the capacity of each battery cell as a base unit, some cells are modules and some modules into one pack. The next generation NCM811 battery cell consists of nickel, cobalt and manganese with the proportion of eight being one.

Nickel NCM811 ratio increased to 80 percent from 60 percent, while the cobalt ratio decreased from 20 percent to 10 percent. LG Chem says higher nickel content contributes to higher energy densities, while lower cobalt content saves on production costs.

Last month, SK Innovation also announced plans to mass-produce NCM811 battery cells for energy storage systems and for EVs in the third quarter of 2018. But LG Chem President Lee Ung-beom said LG Chem would "mass produce NCM811 cells before the SK Innovation does it."

Samsung SDI is exhibiting a multi functional battery pack at the Frankfurt International Motor Show this year and says a multi-function battery pack that can be put into EV like placing books on the shelf. Package 20 modules cover more than 600 kilometers, while 10 modules for 300 kilometers.

SK Innovation is committed to investing heavily in annual production capacity to 10GWh by 2020 to gain a global market share of 10 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2025. The company said it plans to build a production line in Europe to supply to Daimler.

LG Chem opened a new battery plant in Poland by the end of 2016 to add overseas production lines that include facilities in the United States and China, while Samsung SDI completed the construction of a battery plant in Hungary in May.

Shares in top player LG Chem Ltd. have jumped more than 40 percent since June, surpassing 400,000 won (US$353) on expectations of rapid growth in the market for medium and large-sized batteries. The chemical company has posted an operating income of 7.5 billion won on sales of 1.12 trillion won from the battery business during the second quarter of this year.

Samsung SDI has doubled this year to close at a record high of 214,500, while SK Innovation is late to enter the EV battery market to close at 189,500 won on Friday. The global battery market will grow rapidly as countries around the world are making efforts to introduce environmentally friendly cars.

China as the largest car market in the world is considering joining France and Britain in banning gasoline and diesel cars. Indonesia and India as a large populated country are also preparing to do the same.


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