Tesla's new battery cells may come from LG as supplier eyes new US site, report says

LG is only a supplier for Tesla in China so far, but that could change.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance
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2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance

LG batteries could find their way into more Teslas with the firm's new cell design.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

LG may play a much larger role in supply chain in the future, according to a Reuters report Tuesday. According to the publication's sources, the South Korean firm may build Tesla's future battery cells. Not only that, it may expand production to a new site in the US and Europe.

Tesla does not operate a public relations department to field requests for comment, and LG didn't immediately return Roadshow's request for comment on the information. However, Tesla's new, so-called "Biscuit Tin" cells are reportedly all-or-nothing for LG, after Tesla said it would develop the new technology in-house. For the supplier, it needed to embrace the new tech or risk losing Tesla as a customer, according to the report.

According to the report, LG eyes a US site to supply both Tesla and other customers, plus a site in Europe to support the carmaker's upcoming plant in Berlin. Spain is a possible candidate for the new European LG site, one of Reuters' sources said.

If LG expanded to supply Teslas in the US, it would make for two suppliers in the company's domestic market. Panasonic has long been the automaker's main source of batteries, and is also working on Tesla's upcoming battery cell design here in the US at the Gigafactory in Nevada. In China, the carmaker also sources batteries from CATL.

The South Korean battery-maker's future isn't only tied to Tesla here in the US, however. LG and General Motors will soon wrap up production of a new battery plant in Lordstown, Ohio, to support GM's numerous new EVs. The two also said they're looking into a second US plant, potentially in Tennessee. It's not clear if this second site would also serve as the "new site" in the US. We'll have to wait and see how things shake out.

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