Tesla finds new battery supplier in LG Chem with Roadster upgrade

Panasonic has a very close relationship with Tesla as a battery cell supplier to its vehicles and a major partner on the GIgafactory, but the EV maker is eschewing that long association to pick LG Chem for the battery upgrade in the Roadster, Nasdaq reports citing a Dow Jones Business News story. The South Korean brand is rapidly becoming a go-to collaborator for automakers in the EV market.

The $29,000-upgrade for the Roadster gives the sports car a 70-kilowatt-hour battery that should boost range to 400 miles from 245 miles previously. However, it's still not compatible with Tesla's Supercharger network. The company claims to be making no profit on the improvement to the Roadsters, saying that the high cost is partially due to each pack is being built by hand – the workers can only make two or three of them a week.

Obviously this contract with LG Chem on Roadster conversions isn't anywhere near the size of Tesla's partnership with Panasonic, but it shows that the EV maker is willing to look for new suppliers. According to Hybrid Cars, this deal could act as leverage in future negotiations with the Japanese firm.

Thanks to its partnership with Tesla, Panasonic is currently the leader in the cell-supply market, but LG Chem is rapidly challenging for the top position. Helping its ascent is a major deal with General Motors to furnish battery components for the Chevrolet Bolt and Volt. According to Nasdaq, Carlos Ghosn is even reportedly contemplating the company's parts for future Nissan EVs.

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