Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Group’s vice chairman, and Chung Eui-sun, Hyundai Motor Group’s executive vice-chairman, held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss a potential partnership on electric vehicle (EV) battery technology business.
The de facto leaders of both the South Korean top conglomerates met at Samsung SDI’s Cheonan battery plant located south of ChungCheong Province.
Samsung SDI is an affiliate of Samsung Group that specializes in manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicle as well as small-sized batteries for consumer devices.
The event marks the first time Lee held a business meeting with Chung to discuss future relations between the two companies. It also marks the first time Chung visited Samsung SDI’s plant.
According to company officials, Lee and Chung exchanged views on next-generation battery technologies and shared developments in the field.
The two leaders discussed Samsung’s new all-solid-state batteries technology and an expanded collaboration between the two giants in the mobility industry. The Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) briefed the Hyundai Motor Group vice chairman on the latest developments of the battery tech.
In March, Samsung Electronics announced the development of a groundbreaking technology for long-lasting all-solid-state batteries. According to SAIT, the new battery cell could power an electric vehicle to run 800 kilometers on a single charge.
Compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries currently in use in EVs, the new batteries allow for the production of large-capacity cells and are much safer. The battery’s ability to utilize solid electrolytes and support higher energy density allows it to have a cycle life of over 1,000 charges.
Hint of a New Partnership
According to industry sources, the business meeting hints to a potential new partnership between the two companies in the growing EV market. Samsung Group and Hyundai Motor Group could also collaborate in various sectors.
Currently, majority of Hyundai Motor’s EV models batteries supplied from LG Chem and SK Innovation. Kia Motors, the sister company of Hyundai Motor, also obtains its supply from the same manufacturers.
Industry sources also said that the meeting between South Korea’s two leading conglomerates would help strengthen their strategic partnership in the future. However, it is not confirmed whether talks were underway between the two apparent heirs for a specific battery supply deal.