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Samsung, LG lose market shares in US EV battery market

[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s top battery makers Samsung SDI and LG Chem have lost market shares in the US electric vehicle market due to robust sales of EVs powered by their Japanese rivals.

According to industry data, the Korean duo made up a combined 23 percent of market shares in the US in May, down from 35 percent in April. In the meantime, Japanese companies saw their market shares soar from 65 percent to 87 percent.

Most of the top-selling EVs of the month were powered by Japanese-made batteries, except two models -- General Motors’ Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3 -- which use batteries from LG Chem and Samsung SDI, respectively. 

GM's first full-electric car Chevrolet Bolt that is powered by LG Chem batteries
GM's first full-electric car Chevrolet Bolt that is powered by LG Chem batteries

Panasonic was a dominant player, supplying batteries to the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model X and S and the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.

But industry watchers predict a more heated competition in the latter half of this year as new EV models, powered by Korean-made batteries, are expected to come out.

GM plans to launch its first full-electric model Bolt that uses LG Chem batteries in July. The car can drive up to 320 kilometers on a single charge.

BMW is also expected to release an upgraded version of its i3 compact. Samsung SDI is the sole battery suppliers to the German luxury carmaker’s electric and plug-in hybrid models.

Hyundai Motor’s Ioniq EV, powered by LG batteries, will debut in the US market in July.

Volkswagen’s full-electric hatch e-Golf is the only new Panasonic-powered model that will come out in the latter half of the year.

“In the latter half of the year, more EV models will use Korean-made batteries. Then, the market share gap between Korean and Japanese battery makers is likely to be narrowed in the coming months,” said an industry source.

By Lee Ji-yoon (