The Nikkei Asian Review reported on Friday (March 25) that LG Energy Solution (LGES) CEO Kwon Young-soo said it was difficult for automakers to produce their own products based on huge technology patent fees and R&D costs. The report pointed out that the US and South Korean joint ventures are currently building seven electric vehicle (EV) battery plants in North America, including the battery joint ventures established by Stellantis NV with LGES and Samsung SDI respectively.
LGES is concerned about leaks of secrets
General Motors (GM) has asked partner LGES to share some battery technology, South Korean government and industry sources said. LGES is concerned that GM, which owns the battery plant itself, will gain trade secrets as a result. Ford Motor Company made a technology sharing request when negotiating a joint venture with SK On, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SK Innovation. SK is concerned that information will flow through Ford to competitors.
Ultium Cells, a joint venture between GM and LGES, announced in January that it would spend $2.6 billion to build a third battery cell manufacturing plant in Lansing, Michigan. Ultium Cells will complete site preparation this summer and the new plant is expected to open by the end of 2024.
“The fate of Ford’s electrification is in your hands,” SK Innovation CEO Kim Jun said in an interview with Ford CEO Jim Farley, Thomson Reuters reported in October.
SK Innovation Co Ltd announced in October last year that it would double the number of EV battery researchers under its umbrella by the end of 2023, Yonhap News Agency reported.
As of January, LGES had a cumulative backlog of $217 billion.
LGES announced on Wednesday that it will spend 1.7 trillion won to build a new cylindrical battery factory in Queen Creek, Arizona. The new manufacturing facility will use the most advanced smart factory system with functions such as remote support, manufacturing intelligence, and logistics automation.