LS Mtron, a South Korean company specialized in industrial machinery and high-tech components, will supply copper foil for electric vehicle (EV) batteries to Tesla Inc.
The company announced on May 16 that its product passed feasibility and safety test by Panasonic Corp., the exclusive provider of batteries for Tesla EVs, and its product will be used in lithium-ion EV batteries for Tesla in the future.
After the Korean company was assigned to develop copper foil for EV battery by Panasonic in 2013, it conducted sample evaluation, long-term performance-reliability evaluation and plant due diligence for three years in order to develop optimized copper foil for lithium-ion EV batteries.
As a core material of lithium-ion batteries used in EVs and mobile devices, copper foil with thickness of less than 10 micrometers serves as negative electrode current collector.
Because Tesla is known to be picky in the components, only LS Mtron and Japanese Nippon Denkai supply the part to Panasonic.
LS Mtron’s copper foil for batteries is expected to be applied to popular Tesla EVs including the Tesla Model 3 that already secured more than 400,000 pre-orders, as well as existing Model S and Model X. Panasonic is the number 1 company in the global lithium-ion EV battery market in 2015 and it is the sole supplier of lithium-ion EV batteries to Tesla. The lithium-ion battery Gigafactory, which is jointly established by Panasonic and Tesla and scheduled to begin operation in the second half of this year, is expected to produce 50 GWh of lithium-ion battery pack by 2020. The figure exceeds the total global output of 48 GWh in 2013.
Kim Young-tae, director at LS Mtron, said, “Since the company started supplying copper foil for EV batteries to Panasonic in 2010, LS Mtron has seen a more than 50 percent sales growth every year, based on the best quality and on-time shipment. We are expecting a rise in orders in earnest as our product is now used to Tesla’s EVs with the certification.”
LS Mtron has world-class technology and capability for supply of products. The company mass-produced 6 micrometer thick copper foil and then successfully manufactured 4 micrometer thick copper for the first time in the world. The company has fully operated production lines as orders of copper foil from global lithium-ion battery producers in Japan and China surged with the explosive growth of the EV market and wider use of lithium-ion batteries for IT devices and energy storage system (ESS).