* Plans to triple production capacity for cylindrical
* Considers expanding in Europe, North America
* Sees Q4 sales, profit growth after record Q3
* Forms task force with Hyundai over Kona EV fires
SEOUL, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Electric vehicle battery maker LG
Chem plans to triple production capacity for
cylindrical batteries used by Tesla and others, and is
considering expansion in Europe and North America to meet
surging demand, it said on Wednesday.
The South Korean firm forecast a further rise in its battery
sales and profit in the fourth quarter after posting record
quarterly earnings thanks to growing demand for electric vehicle
"Sales are continuously expected to grow thanks to greater
shipments of automotive batteries and cylindrical batteries for
EVs," said LG Chem, which also counts General Motors,
Volkswagen and Hyundai Motor as
It did not provide figures or a timeframe for its plans to
triple cylindrical battery capacity.
LG Chem, along with CATL, supplies batteries for
Tesla's made-in China models, while Panasonic
makes batteries for Tesla's U.S-made cars.
LG Chem also said it was developing "new form-factor"
cylindrical batteries which will boost energy density five-fold
and power by six-fold, without elaborating.
These are similar to targets that Tesla announced last month
for its new batteries to be made in-house, called 4680 cells, to
enable a 16% increase in range for Tesla vehicles.
The CEO of LG Chem, which has production facilities in
Poland, the United States, South Korea and China, shared a plan
to build another site in Europe in an interview last week.
KONA EV INVESTIGATION
LG Chem said on Wednesday it had formed a task force with
Hyundai to find the root cause of battery fires affecting some
14 Kona EVs in South Korea and abroad, as Hyundai plans to
recall Kona EVs.
The batteries to petrochemicals maker reported a 159% jump
in total operating profit to a record 902 billion won ($797
million) in the third quarter from a year earlier, in line with
Its battery division, which also includes small batteries
used in Apple's iPhones, saw operating profit more than double
from a year earlier to 169 billion won, thanks to rising
cylindrical battery sales, new EV launches by European
automakers and higher sales of new mobile devices.
Operating profit at the mainstay petrochemical business also
more than doubled to 722 billion won, as the coronavirus crisis
lifted demand for home appliances and hygiene products like
($1 = 1,131.3900 won)
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Heekyong Yang; Editing by Richard
Pullin and Mark Potter)