Samsung SDI is going to greatly increase output of its cylindrical batteries in order to respond to rapid increase in demands from electric tool and electric vehicle manufacturers. It is also working on development of high-density cylindrical batteries with capacity being at least 5,000mAh per cell in order to target markets for electric vehicles with high mileage.
According to industries on the 20th, Samsung SDI increased production capacity of its cylindrical batteries from 800 million in last year to about 1 billion in this year. Samsung SDI decided to gradually increase annual production capacity to 2 billion and is increasing supply and demand of related materials and parts. It also provided a boost to its cylindrical battery business by promoting the former team leader of Small Battery Business Department’s Cylindrical Battery Development Team to an executive director during a recent periodic personnel review on executives.
Currently cylindrical batteries are mostly supplied for electric tools According to a market research company called B3, Samsung SDI produced 99.5 million cylindrical battery cells for electric tools during this past quarter and maintained its number one position with market shares of 49.3%. After entering this market in 2005 when Japanese companies had had 90% of market shares, it has been supplying batteries to four major electric tool manufacturers such as Bosch, TTi, Stanley, Black & Decker, and Makita. Since 2013, it has maintained its number one position with market shares around 50%.
“Panasonic and Samsung SDI are the one of the few businesses that are currently able to mass-produce high-nickel (containing at least 80% of nickel) cylindrical batteries in batter markets for electric tools where generating capacity is important.” said a representative for an industry. “Due to supply and demand for Panasonic’s cylindrical batteries being tight as it has secured entire supply of cylindrical batteries for Tesla’s electric vehicles, many companies are demanding cylindrical batteries from Samsung SDI.”

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<Samsung SDI displayed ’21,700 battery’, which will become a new standard for cylindrical batteries, at InterBattery 2017. (Picture = Samsung SDI)>

New demands for cylindrical batteries for a purpose of ESS (Energy Storage System) are also beginning to appear. Samsung SDI is going to supply its 21,700 cylindrical batteries to Tesla for its world’s biggest ESS project that is being established in Australia. 21,700 battery with diameter of 21mm and height of 70mm is a product that has at most 50% more of size and energy capacity than 18,650 (diameter of 18mm and height of 65mm) battery that used to be the mainstream of cylindrical batter markets.
Samsung SDI is also going to supply cylindrical batteries for electric vehicles starting from next year. Lucid Motors, which is an American electric vehicle startup company that is seen as one of the rising competitors to Tesla, selected Samsung SDI and LG Chemicals as battery supplies for its luxury sedan called Lucid Air that is expected to be released in 2018. Samsung SDI will be the main supplier and it will supply 21,700 batteries for Lucid Motors’ initial supply of 20,000 batteries in 2018.
Although Panasonic is monopolizing entire battery supplies for Tesla, industries are predicting that cylindrical batter markets for electric vehicles will continue to grow bigger as other subtype companies begin to appear. According to B3, it is estimated that there are demands for about 3.138 billion cylindrical batteries in this year. Out of these batteries, 1.023 billion and 842 million of them are for electric vehicles and electric tools respectively.
In order to respond to this, Samsung SDI is currently developing high-density cylindrical batteries with capacity being between later-end of 4,000mAh and early-end of 5,000mAh per cell in order to supply them for electric vehicles with high mileage.
Staff Reporter Jung, Hyeonjung |