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Samsung SDI to supply cylindrical battery to Jaguar Land Rover

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Samsung SDI's cylindrical cell battery / Courtesy of Samsung SDI
Samsung SDI's cylindrical cell battery / Courtesy of Samsung SDI

By Baek Byung-yeul

Samsung SDI will supply cylindrical cell batteries to Jaguar Land Rover's electric vehicles (EVs), industry sources said Wednesday.

To supply its cylindrical cell batteries to the British carmaker, industry sources said the Korean battery maker will construct a production line for producing "21700" cylindrical batteries at its plant in Hungary.

Samsung SDI fiercely competed with other battery makers including LG Chem and Panasonic to win a contract from the British carmaker since last year. The company declined to confirm, saying "we cannot offer information related with our customer companies."

Jaguar Land Rover will use the 21700 batteries for its next EVs scheduled to be on the market in 2020. The 21700 battery is next-generation battery technology. It is 21 millimeters in diameter and 70 millimeters in height with the capacity that is 50 percent larger than 18650 battery technology.

Samsung SDI is expected to initially supply EV cells of 5 gigawatt hours (GWh) a year, which will be about 300 million cylindrical cells. Samsung SDI is known to have battery manufacturing capacity of about 80 million cells a month.

Compared to the pouch or prismatic batteries, a cylindrical cell battery has its strength in power efficiency.

The cylindrical cell battery is gaining popularity as Tesla began adopting it in its EVs. Also there have been growing demands for the cylindrical cell battery as more products such as electric power tools and electric vehicles go cordless.

According to market researcher B3, the demand for cylindrical batteries last year was 3.75 billion, accounting for 55 percent of the entire small battery market, and the figure is expected to surpass 4.6 billion this year.

Samsung SDI, the leading player in the small battery market, is expected to post an operating profit of more than 400 billion won ($356 million) in its small battery business, according to reports from Samsung Securities and Mirae Asset Daewoo.

Baek Byung-yeul

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