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Samsung makes push in batteries for cars Empty Samsung makes push in batteries for cars

Post  Admin Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:15 am

Samsung Group, the country's biggest conglomerate, has vowed to push lithium-ion batteries for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles as its next cash-cow amid ongoing green initiatives by governments.

The market for lithium-ion batteries is dramatically increasing as electric-car technology improves and prices drop, fueling additional momentum for interested parties to steadily inject more of their resources to enjoy "first-mover" advantage in the growing market.

By riding the "new wave," SB LiMotive ― the battery joint venture between the group's parts affiliate Samsung SDI and Germany's Bosch _ has several contracts with global carmakers in the United States and China to supply batteries for electric vehicles, a senior Samsung executive said.

"SB LiMotive has been in talks with major carmakers in the United States, as well as those in Europe and Asia," said Choi Chi-hun, the chief executive of Samsung SDI, in a press conference at an event to open the venture’s new battery line in the southeastern city of Ulsan, Wednesday.

The venture, which was established in 2008, is planning to invest $500 million for the expansion of battery output by 2013, it said in a statement.

Choi declined to unveil further financial details. Franz Fehrenbach, the chairman of Bosch Group, admitted that SB LiMotive has seen some progress with other OEM manufacturers for supplementary deals.

The joint venture currently has BMW, Chrysler and Delphi as its major clients. Citing the rising momentum in its battery business, the Samsung CEO also said SDI is aiming to increase battery shipments by 50 percent this year from 2009.

``SB LiMotive expects to `break even’ from 2013 and seeing a significant contribution to SDI in terms of profit from 2014,’’ Choi said.

SB LiMotive is competing with its biggest domestic rival LG Chem and other Asian rivals to raise its presence in the highly-lucrative lithium-ion battery sector as the focus shifts from just consumer products to electric and hybrid vehicles.

Car majors and battery producers are busy to form a united front to enable them to produce at a high enough volume to keep costs competitive.

The Bosch chairman confirmed his meeting with chairman of Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group ― Chung Mong-koo ― and added further partnerships with the South Korean auto giant were the top issue.

``We exchanged views about some pending issues,’’ Fehrenbach said without elaborating further.

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