BMW Boosts Battery Supplies on Electric-Car Rollout Plans – Bloomberg
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) agreed
to spend billions of euros increasing its orders of Samsung SDI
Co. batteries as the world’s largest maker of luxury cars
expands its line of electric vehicles.
BMW is planning to increase its purchases of SDI battery
cells for the electric i3 city car and the plug-in hybrid i8
sports car as well as for “additional hybrid models” in the
coming years, the Munich-based carmaker said today in a
statement. BMW assembles the cells into batteries at a facility
in Dingolfing, Germany.
“The battery is a key component in every electric vehicle
— since it basically determines the range and performance
capabilities of the car,” Klaus Draeger, BMW’s purchasing
chief, said in the statement. “In Samsung SDI, we have chosen a
supplier that offers us the best-available technology with
future-oriented Korean battery expertise.”
The deal paves the way for BMW to secure supply of
batteries — the most expensive part of an electric vehicle —
as it rolls out the i8 and i3 to counter inroads by Tesla Motor
Inc. (TSLA) into the luxury-car segment. For Samsung SDI, which
supplies batteries to Apple Inc., the order builds on the
company’s plans to expand its automotive business months after
agreeing to acquire Cheil Industries Inc. for 3.5 trillion won
($3.4 billion) to add its chemicals and materials expertise.
Samsung SDI, a unit of South Korea’s Samsung Group, rose
0.6 percent to close at 173,000 won, the highest since December.
The shares have gained 6.8 percent this year, while the
benchmark Kospi index is little changed. BMW slipped 0.6 percent
to 92.25 euros at 11:27 a.m. in Frankfurt trading.
More ‘i’ Models
BMW plans to add more models as part of its electric “i”
sub-brand, Ian Robertson, BMW’s head of sales and marketing,
said last month, as the company started deliveries of the i8.
“We spent a lot of money on this and are definitely
thinking long term,” Robertson said. “There are going to be
others in the BMW i lineup.”
The supply deal is worth worth “multi billions of euros,”
Gyeonggi, South Korea-based Samsung SDI said in a separate
statement, without giving details such as the exact value. A
battery can account for as much as 40 percent of an electric
vehicle’s manufacturing cost, Samsung SDI’s spokesman David Kim
said by phone. BMW’s i3 starts at $41,350.
Sales of hybrids and electric vehicles are projected to
grow steadily to reach 5.2 million units by 2020, or 7.3 percent
of all passenger vehicles, according to a November 2010 report
by J.D. Power & Associates. BMW said it sold 5,400 i3 cars in
the first half of 2014 and demand for the i8 is “significantly
higher” than initial production plans.
“Expanding its supply track record will help Samsung SDI
as it tries to increase its customer base,” Lee Sang Hyun, an
analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co., said by phone. “The
deal will help SDI have greater presence as an electric car
battery maker in the U.S. and Europe.”
According to Japanese research firm B3, the global market
for automotive lithium-ion batteries will increase to $21.3
billion in 2020 from $4.4 billion in 2014.
Samsung SDI has provided batteries to BMW since 2009. Its
competitors include South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. (051910), which supplies
France’s Renault SA, and Panasonic Corp. (6752), which supplies
batteries to Tesla. Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), the world’s biggest
maker of memory chips and smartphones, owns about 20 percent of
SDI, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.