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Hyundai Motor, LG Group chiefs discuss future battery biz

Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun (left) shakes hands with LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo (right) after his visit to LG Chem’s EV battery production site located in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province on Monday. (Hyundai Motor Group)
Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun (left) shakes hands with LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo (right) after his visit to LG Chem’s EV battery production site located in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province on Monday. (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun and LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo met Monday and discussed further partnerships over future battery business, the firms said.

Chung visited LG Chem’s EV battery production site located in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province on Monday morning. It was the first official meeting between the two tycoons.

Chung was accompanied by Hyundai Motor Group’s R&D President Albert Biermann, President Seo Bo-shin, who is in charge of the product division, and Hyundai Mobis President Park Jung-kook. They were welcomed by LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo, Vice Chairman Kwon Young-soo, LG Chem Vice Chairman Shin Hak-cheol, President Kim Jong-hyun, who oversees the battery business division, and battery R&D President Kim Myung-hwan.

Chung’s visit to LG Chem factory was to “look around the site for high-performing battery development for electric vehicles and also to share the development direction of future batteries,” said a Hyundai Motor official. 

Following a tour of the facility, the two chiefs reportedly had lunch together. They exchanged views on LG Chem’s technology and development direction of future battery products including long-life batteries, lithium-sulfur batteries and solid state batteries, according to Hyundai Motor Group.

Solid state batteries are regarded as the next-generation battery to replace lithium-ion batteries for both safety and performance.

Both long-life batteries and lithium-sulfur batteries are known for increased performance and can increase driving distance when applied to EVs. 

This comes around a month after the heir of South Korea’s largest automaker met Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to discuss next-generation EV batteries in Cheonan on May 13. They shared views on the current situation and the directions for the development of all solid batteries at the Samsung SDI plant, according to the company. 

Currently, LG Chem is responsible for manufacturing EV batteries for Hyundai Motor Group’s hybrid and EV cars such as Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric.

The company has been also designated as a battery provider for the pure EV platform called Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) slated for a 2022 launch, which will use LG Chem’s next-generation lithium-ion battery. 

Industry insiders said that as Chung has been meeting with the executives of Korean conglomerates to seek partnerships for EV development, it is highly likely that he will visit another EV battery partner, SK Innovation, and meet SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won in the near future.

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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