South Korean electric vehicle battery manufacturers are continuing to concentrate on ternary batteries with maximum nickel content, despite soaring nickel prices.
The London Metal Exchange halted nickel trading on March 8, when its price surged 250 percent. The measure is scheduled to continue until this coming weekend. This is for the first time since 1985 that such a measure was taken at the exchange.
Nickel is essential in manufacturing electric vehicle batteries. At present, LG Energy Solution, Samsung SDI and SK On are focusing on high-nickel ternary NCM and NCA batteries. Each of them released or is about to release a product with a nickel content of at least 90 percent. The use of nickel is also increasing in China with regard to energy storage system batteries.
According to the three companies, the prices of minerals used in their batteries fluctuate at all times, and they cannot change their strategy for the surge in nickel price. “We have diversified our supply chains in order to better cope with the fluctuations and the nickel we use is mainly from Indonesia, Australia and Latin America,” one of them said, adding, “Although Tesla, Mercedes-Benz and so on are increasing their use of LFP batteries, the increase does not mean a decline in ternary battery demand, and this is because they are using LFP and ternary batteries in their less and more expensive models, respectively.”
According to experts, the three companies are likely to diversify their products while continuing to develop their ternary batteries. LG Energy Solution and SK On are currently working on LFP batteries and LG Energy Solution recently said that its first LFP batteries, if actually produced and put on the market, would be for use in energy storage systems rather than vehicles.