SEOUL, March 15 (Korea Bizwire) — Samsung SDI Co. has been in talks with General Motors Co. for a potential business collaboration, although no details have materialized yet, its chief said Wednesday.
Choi Yoon-ho, president and CEO of the South Korean battery maker, made the comments after media speculation that the company will build a joint battery plant with GM in the United States and Choi was visiting the country to close the deal.
“We had in-depth negotiations in the U.S. (with GM) for a mid- to long-term partnership,” Choi told reporters after a shareholders meeting in Seoul when asked about the possible collaboration. He did not elaborate.
“It’s difficult to say when it will materialize because the work needs actual progress,” Choi said.
The Korea Economic Daily reported last week that Samsung SDI and GM will soon sign a deal worth as much as 5 trillion won (US$2.84 billion) to build an electric vehicle (EV) battery factory capable of producing 30-50 gigawatt hours a year.
If realized, it will mark the second partnership for Samsung SDI with a global automaker in North America.
It is building an EV battery plant in Indiana under a joint venture with Stellantis N.V., with the commercial operation set to start in 2025.
Choi said Samsung SDI is also working hard on the lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, referring to the cheaper battery type that has increasingly gained traction with its wide adoption by Tesla Inc.
“We consider the LFP one of the important platforms and we’re preparing hard because the diversity of our business and the diversity of our customers are important,” he said.
Samsung SDI is known for mainly producing prismatic and cylindrical batteries in the higher-end of the EV battery market.