Samsung SDI Developing Cobalt-free Battery to Secure Price Competitiveness

Samsung SDI’s cylindrical batteries

Samsung SDI announced on April 28 that it would secure price competitiveness of its electric vehicle (EV) batteries by developing a cobalt-free and manganese-rich ternary battery.

The plan is aimed at responding to lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are increasing their market share based on a low cost. The company intends to exclude cobalt, which is expensive, from the cathode materials. Cobalt traded at US$81,750 per ton as of April 26.

“The market share of LFP batteries is on the rise in the mid- to low-end segment of the battery market,” a Samsung SDI official said in an earnings conference call. “We are currently developing manganese-rich batteries that do not use expensive cobalt in cathode materials. We will expand their market share based on cost competitiveness.”

Samsung SDI also disclosed that a pilot production line for all-solid-state batteries, which is being set up at its research center in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, will start operating in the first half of next year. “We will move up the schedule for volume production of all-solid-state batteries faster than the market expects by securing mass production technology,” the official said.

The company began to churn out Gen5 batteries in September 2021. It said sales of Gen5 batteries have been robust as sales of new EV models from major clients equipped with Gen5 batteries have begun in earnest. “Gen5 batteries were of great help in improving our business performance in the second half of 2021. We expect sales of Gen5 batteries to increase further in the second half of 2022. It will boost Gen5 sales,” the official said.

Samsung SDI plans to begin mass production of Gen6 batteries from 2024. It increased the nickel content in Gen6 batteries to 91 percent to enhance energy density by more than 10 percent and shorten the charging time. 


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