Samsung SDI is considering using equipment supplied by Chinese vendors to form its lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery production line, TheElec has learned.
The South Korean battery maker recently hosted a closed-door conference at its plant in Cheonan, South Korea, explaining its plan to potential vendors on its LFP battery production project, sources said.
Those from Lead Intelligence and Zhejiang Hangke were present at the meeting, they said, while those from South Korean vendors Kapjin and Wonik PNE, long-time suppliers to Samsung SDI, were also present.
The conference was aimed at mostly back-end equipment makers. Samsung SDI is expected to place orders for the equipment within the year and start installation of them next year. The LFP battery production line is highly likely to be built at its plant in Ulsan.
While Lead Intelligence and Zhejiang Hangke winning orders are not guaranteed, they are known to offer their equipment at competitive prices and have a good chance of winning the orders.
Zhejiang Hangke’s involvement is especially interesting as the company already has South Korean battery makers SK On and LG Energy Solution as its customers.
The company won a deal with BlueOval SK, SK On’s joint venture with Ford, worth 140 billion won for equipment to be used in the latter’s factories in the US.
Meanwhile, South Korean battery makers which have focused on manufacturing NCM batteries in the past are expanding into LFP batteries, a market segment dominated by their Chinese rivals.
LFP batteries are up to 70% cheaper than NCM batteries and are being adopted widely in electric vehicles most famously in Tesla models.