LG Chem to Supply Batteries to Changan Auto

LG Chem Ltd. (KSE:051910), South Korea’s biggest rechargeable battery maker, has signed a deal with China’s third-largest carmaker to provide hybrid electric vehicle batteries, starting late this year.

Under the deal with Chang’an Automobile Group, LG Chem will supply lithium-ion polymer batteries for hybrid electric vehicles to the Chinese carmaker, which developed a hybrid electric vehicle, CV11, using nickel hydrogen rechargeable batteries last year.

LG Chem started delivering batteries to Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. last year. The company also signed supply contracts with General Motors Co. and Eaton Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kim Bahn Suk said on Jan. 29 the company is seeking orders from China and Europe.

Global demand for electric cars will increase from 900,000 units last year to 3.3 million units by 2013 and 4.6 million by 2015, LG said in June. Rising demand will boost the battery market to 10 trillion won ($8.6 billion) by 2015.

The lithium-ion polymer rechargeable batteries have a larger output and are much safer than existing nickel hydrogen models.

A hybrid electric vehicle is powered simultaneously by batteries and a standard combustion engine to achieve better fuel economy than a conventional car.

LG Chem has been building two electric vehicles rechargeable battery plants, one in South Korea and another in the United States since last year.