Tesla has close ties to Panasonic, but the automaker might buy a stake in a spinoff of a rival battery firm, according to a new report.
Tesla is looking to acquire a significant piece of LG Energy Solution, soon to be spun off from LG Chem, to procure a stable battery supply, The Korea Times reported Monday.
A major automotive battery supplier, LG Chem plans to spin off its battery business into a separate corporate entity in December. Tesla is looking to take a 10% stake in that new entity, according to the report, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter.
Tesla jointly operates its Nevada “Gigafactory” with Panasonic, but that doesn’t mean the automaker wants to get deeper into the battery-manufacturing business, the report said. The automaker will likely try to diversify its battery sources, relying more on third-party manufacturers, to ensure adequate supply and cut costs, the report suggested.
Tesla’s Battery Day breakthrough promised to halve the cost of its cells and ramp up to meet what it sees as potential demand for its cars and energy products by the end of the decade.
$25,000 Tesla teased for 2023 – Battery Day
The automaker has already begun sourcing lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries for the Model 3 in China, as a way to free up more energy-dense nickel-cobalt aluminum cells for the Tesla Semi.
The cost savings enabled by Tesla’s reevaluation of the battery-supply chain, CEO Elon Musk said, will enable a $25,000 vehicle (with LFP batteries) to be made in 2023.
Tesla has bought technology companies before, such as ultracapacitor firm Maxwell Technologies and the Canadian battery maker Hibar.
And there’s no likelihood of it switching its allegiances anytime soon. It recently renewed its long-term agreement with Panasonic, signing a new three-year battery-pricing deal with the company in June.