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Samsung SDI to supply cylindrical Li-ion batteries to JAC Motors for new EV; 50 million 18650 cells next year

In a departure from its usual approach of supplying high-capacity prismatic Li-ion cells for automotive applications, Samsung SDI will supply cylindrical 18650 format Li-ion batteries for JAC Motors’ new electric SUV iEV6S, unveiled at the 2015 Guangzhou International Auto Parts & Accessories Exhibition. JAC Motors says that its iEV6S will be the first electric SUV in China to offer more than 250 km (155 miles) of range.

The battery pack for the iEV6S will comprise approximately 3,000 of Samsung SDI’s high-performance 18650 battery cells. Additionally, JAC Motors signed an MOU with Samsung SDI for the supply of 50 million battery cells next year alone.


Beginning early next year, millions of batteries will be supplied from the Cheonan Plant in Korea and the Tianjin Plant in China.The two companies promised to collaborate as tactical partners to exchange technology and establish a solid supplier relationship.

The Samsung SDI 18650 battery to be provided to JAC Motors features a high energy capacity of around 3,000 mAh. Samsung SDI has mainly applied its small cells (cylindrical, prismatic and polymer) for applications such as small IT devices or power tools such as laptops, cordless drills, electric screwdrivers, e-bikes, power banks and so on.

Samsung SDI has developed a complete electric drive battery cell platform portfolio and is capable of mass-producing various advanced automotive prismatic Li-ion battery cells based on a nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) chemistry. The offerings include a 5Ah-class for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV); 20Ah-class for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV); 60Ah-class for pure battery electric vehicles (EV); and 4.0Ah/11Ah “Hi-Cap” batteries for Micro-/Mild-HEV.

Samsung SDI will be one of the suppliers (LG Chem being the other) of prismatic cells for the production version of Audi’s battery-electric e-tron quattro SUV.

Among global electric vehicles, Tesla has been the only major brand to use 18650 batteries.

China’s electric vehicle market is rapidly growing and since it is crucial to maintain our position as a leading manufacturer, we are supplying cylindrical 18650 batteries along with the existing squared [prismatic] ones. We will aggressively respond to the demands of Chinese customers and target from various angles.

—Samsung SDI’s CEO Nam-Seong Cho
JAC Motors iEV6S. Click to enlarge.

Founded in 1964, JAC Motors is one of China’s top 10 domestic automakers. The company produced around 500 thousand units last year, including trucks, commercial/personal vehicles and SUVs.



I was looking at the larger batteries that Samsung offers with the 60a-hr being the largest. I assume these would not be in the cylinder format or would they?


No, they would not be offering the larger ones in cylinderical format, at least not in conjunction with this project. They're talking about the standard 18650 format which are those tiny little buggers that make up standard packs in electronics these days.

I'm a bit surprised by this frankly as only Tesla has stuck with this before now and I was hoping to see a standardized larger format battery start to get more volume and thus lower prices.


Tesla CTO JB Straubel has said at presentations that although Tesla originally selected commodity cells because they were cheap and plentiful, other advantages like heat management made it likely that they would continue to use them, even if larger size prismatic cells became cheaper.


Create a cell that does not generate the heat.


Fitting cylinders into a battery, creates a lot of wasted space; however, if you got something that works well, change it only if there is a clear advantage. Also, Tesla doesn't make cells, just batteries of cells.


I always wonder why they didn't make a 25650 batter which would have a diameter of 25.4 mm or 1.41 x the size of an 18 mm one.
This would double the volume (and hence energy) for 1.41 x the width.
If cooling is a problem, why don't they put a matte black coating on the outside to help radiate off the heat.
As it is, they tend to be shiny and often plastic coated which has to mess up the thermal properties.


Fitting cylinders into a battery, creates a lot of wasted space cooling channels


@ Lad
That cell you're refering to already exists take a look at:



Actually, they do make cells that size, there are cylindrical hard-shelled lithium-ion batteries of various sizes other than the 18650.* For example, the 26650 is a more popular choice but is only produced by Chinese companies (not large brands like Samsung).

*Source: What is an 18650 battery?

Yes, the "wasted space" as "cooling channels" seems like a lazy argument but it's quite efficient actually.

However there are some more fundamental variables, eg. Economies of scale.

The 18650 battery started out inside laptops. It's also in power-tools and so forth. I do believe electric vehicles can drive demand for larger cells but it's very far from being able to do so given the operational set up already exists keeping cost pressure in favour of the cylindrical 18650 design.

Modularity is inherently safer, and safety is still the primary concern for shipping and consumer-use going forward.

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