|LG Energy Solution officials hold pouch-type batteries at the company’s research facility in Daejeon. (LG Energy Solution)|
LG Energy Solution said it had invested 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion) in battery research and development over the past six years, allocating 5-6 percent of its revenue every year.
According to the South Korean battery giant, it held the highest number of battery patents as of late last year -- 23,610, which is at least 10 times as many as of a leading Chinese battery firm that joined the global race recently.
LG Energy Solution’s battery research has continued for about three decades. After beginning a lithium-ion battery research in full throttle in 1995, it became the first Korean company to successfully mass-produce lithium-ion batteries in 1999. In 2009, LG Energy Solution was selected as the sole battery supplier for General Motors’ Chevrolet Bolt, the world’s first mass-produced electric vehicle.
Last year, LG Energy Solution became the first Korean company to breach the 10 trillion-won mark in revenue from the battery business. In 2024, that figure is projected to triple to 30 trillion won, according to the company.
“LG Energy Solution is the world’s first company to have developed lithium-ion batteries based on NCM (nickel cobalt manganese) chemistry. Also, its patented safety-reinforced separator technology, which coats separators with a thin layer of ceramic material, dramatically enhances the safety of batteries. Lamination & stacking technology leaves no waste space inside batteries and therefore maximizes battery power. Above all, the company’s pouch-type design offers greater stability and longer lifespan compared to other types of batteries,” a company official said.
To consolidate its dominant standing in the highly competitive battery market, LG Energy Solution is scheduled to supply the world’s first NCMA (nickel cobalt manganese aluminum) batteries that contain as much as 90 percent nickel to automaker clients starting the second half of this year.
The higher the ratio of nickel inside batteries, the greater power batteries achieve but less stable they become. As the world’s No.1 battery patent holder, LG Energy Solution solved such issues.
The NCMA chemistry offers competitive edge not only in performance but also in price. Adding aluminum inside batteries means putting in less cobalt, one of the most expensive raw materials inside batteries that drives up their price. Aluminum costs $1,500 per metric ton, while cobalt costs $30,000 per ton.
With its technological edge, LG Energy Solution is supplying batteries to more than 20 automakers. Among the world’s top 20 carmakers by brand value, 70 percent or 13 of them chose LG Energy Solution as a supplier. The company’s order backlogs currently stand at 150 trillion won.