LG Chem bags automaker Daimler’s battery supplier deal

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German automaker Daimler AG has selected South Korea-based chemical firm LG Chem as the sole lithium-ion batteries supplier for its new range of Wise electric autos scheduled for a 2016 launch.

Announcing the deal, LG Chem said Daimler plans to install its lithium-ion battery packs into the new model of its compact electric vehicle brand, Smart, next year. The company did not disclose financial terms of the deal. However, it noted that EVs account for a modest portion of about 100,000 Smart mini cars sold a year currently.

The battery maker said with the Daimler deal, it has now become the world’s biggest automotive battery supplier, having supply contracts with at least 13 of the top 20 global automakers, including Audi, General Motors and Volkswagen.

“LG Chem’s battery business and technology have been acknowledged worldwide once again as our products are continuously being installed by major automobile makers from their commodity brands to premium vehicles”, said Kwon Young-soo, the head of LG Chem’s battery business.

“LG Chem will continue to lead the EV battery market with differentiated technology to make us stand up as the global No. 1 battery manufacturer.”

According to Japanese market research firm, B3, the EV battery market is likely to grow to an estimated US$18.24 billion by 2020.