SEOUL — Volkswagen plans to gradually switch the type of battery used in its electric vehicles, three sources with knowledge of the matter said on Monday, leaving its supply deals with LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation in doubt.
The automaker’s plan comes at a time when two major South Korean battery makers that manufacture the current pouch-type batteries for Volkswagen, LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation, have been locked in a legal battle in the United States over allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets related to EV battery technology.
VW plans to use the prismatic type of battery in its electric cars, increasingly turning to supplies from China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., South Korea’s Money Today online news site reported earlier on Monday, citing unnamed South Korean battery industry sources.
CATL also supplies prismatic cells to Tesla Inc.
Volkswagen declined to comment. LG Energy Solution, a unit of LG Chem, said it does not comment on market speculation, while SK Innovation declined to comment.
Volkswagen plans to announce its battery procurement plans at its Power Day event on Monday. VW Group CEO Herbert Diess sent out the invitation last week via Twitter and LinkedIn.
Boosting battery expertise and securing sufficient supplies will be vital for VW to deliver on plans for the industry’s biggest fleet of electric vehicles.
The German automaker intends to roughly double the share of its global sales that are purely battery-powered cars to between 6 and 8 percent in 2021 and narrow a volume gap with Tesla.
Prismatic cells, as described by NHTSA, are constructed in a wound or flat plate configuration. In pouch cells, the layers are stacked or folded, packed under vacuum and held together by the pouch.
Automotive News contributed to this report.