The news is a little more fortuitous than some of the more recent times LG Chem and its lithium-ion battery production activity showed up in these pages. LG Chem built a factory about 30 miles outside of Grand Rapids, MI in 2012 to make batteries for the Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle. Unfortunately, the plant sat idle for months even though the feds committed more than $300 million combined in funds and tax breaks for the factory. Those factory lines officially cranked up in 2013 and are going to make packs for the next-gen Volt in the near future. For now, you can take a look at LG Chem's press release for the Smart agreement below.
Seoul, Korea - Mar 31, 2015 – LG Chem, Korea's leading manufacturer of advanced batteries, has been selected by Daimler AG (Daimler) as the supplier of lithium-ion batteries for Smart EV that will be newly launched in 2016. Based on the results of mass supply contract, LG Chem will be providing battery cells to Smart EV and the cells will be installed into packs by Daimler.
Smart is a brand of Daimler that manufactures and markets micro cars such as Smart Fortwo and Smart Forfour. Despite the compact size of the vehicle, Smart is renowned for agility on city roads, secured safety and differentiated design. It has a steady sales record of more than 100,000 vehicles annually.
LG Chem had been invited to the 'Supplier Day' hosted by Daimler in Stuttgart, February. LG Chem was the only lithium-ion battery maker invited to participate at the event and had the chance to discuss core strategies with numerous automotive partners of Daimler Group.
Based on such experience, LG Chem plans to supply a battery that can cope with the prestigious name value of Daimler brands with the best specification and highest output of energy - a battery that has the best driving performance while running through electric motor.
With the advent of 'Benz Patent Motor Car' in 1886, Daimler gave birth to the first automobile in the world. Daimler's technology in the auto industry dates back over 100 years, as it had succeeded in developing the first diesel car known as '260 D' in 1936.
With its brand divisions of Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Mitsubishi Fuso and Freightliner, the Daimler Group is one of the biggest producers of premium cars and the world's biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles with a global reach.
According to 'Most Valuable Automobile Brands 2014' released by Brand Finance, a brand valuation and strategy consultancy, the top 20 brands are Volkswagen, Ford, Hyundai, Renault, Audi, Chevrolet, Kia, Daimler and GM. All of these automakers use LG Chem's batteries for EV application. By signing a supply contract with Daimler, LG Chem has become the world's biggest automotive battery supplier, having at least 13 global automakers among the top 20 global brands.
"LG Chem's battery business and technology have been world-widely acknowledged once again as our products are continuously being installed by major automobile makers from their commodity brands to premium vehicles", said Young Soo Kwon, the President of Energy Solution Company, LG Chem.
He added, "LG Chem's will continue to lead the EV battery market with differentiated technology to make us stand up as global No.1 battery manufacturer." In a recent assessment report published by B3, a renowned market research firm, the EV battery market is expected to grow up to USD 18.24 billion by 2020.