LG Energy Solution’s 4680-Type Batteries Are Coming ‘Soon’

LG Energy Solution (LGES), one of the world’s largest manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries for EVs, is expected to soon launch new high-capacity cylindrical battery cells.

According to Naver (via Drive Tesla Canada), LG Energy Solution CEO Kim Dong-Myung announced that the new 4680-type cylindrical format (diameter of 46 mm and height of 80 mm) is coming “soon”—as early as in August 2024.

Get Fully Charged

4680-type cells are bigger and better

The new 4680-type are the largest cylindrical cells for EVs. A bigger form factor allows for improved energy density and lower manufacturing cost per energy unit. An additional benefit is a simpler battery pack (a smaller number of individual battery cells to connect and control). However, the increase in size brings many challenges that have to be solved to maintain high-quality and reliable production.

The 4680-type batteries were originally introduced by Tesla, a few years ago. The company produces 4680-type in-house at its pilot facility in California and the Giga Texas factory. However, as we understand, Tesla encouraged its battery supplier to also launch 4680-type cells.

Currently, only Tesla uses the 4680-type format in all-electric vehicles (first in one of the versions of the Tesla Model Y produced in Texas and now in the Tesla Cybertruck). However, multiple other OEMs intend to use new, high-capacity cylindrical batteries with a diameter of 46 mm and various heights (including BMW). Also, the queue of battery suppliers with 46xx products is getting longer (including Panasonic and CATL).

The report says that LGES will start series production of the 4680-type cells in August at its Ochang facility in South Korea.

The company plans to produce the new batteries in the United States, at its new factory in Arizona (currently under construction), probably around 2025. Production in the U.S. is an important step due to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA), which linked the $7,500 federal tax credit and other incentives with local production.

The report says that production of the 4680-type batteries might potentially happen also in China, at the Nanjing factory, which already makes smaller 2170-type cells for Tesla Model 3/Model Y.

Separately, LGES expects to start production of its own LFP batteries (lithium iron phosphate cathode chemistry) around the second half of 2025. The development of LFP by LG Chem was rumored in 2021 and confirmed in 2022. Time will tell whether it will be batteries for EVs or just for battery energy storage systems (BEES).