South Korea’s two biggest battery makers, LG Chem and Samsung SDI, announced they would temporarily close their U.S. plants, while Japanese battery maker Panasonic announced earlier that it would pull workers from its U.S. plant and close it for 14 days. Samsung SDI announced on The same day that it would temporarily close two power battery plants in Michigan until April 13 to stop the spread of the outbreak and protect employees, Samsung News website SamMobile reported on March 25.
It is understood that the power battery plant near Detroit, Michigan, is Samsung SDI’s core asset in the United States, but also its U.S. company battery pack manufacturing plant, research and development center and automotive battery operations headquarters.
Samsung SDI’s core customers are Volvo, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen and other vehicle companies.
Earlier in the day, LG Chemical, another South Korean battery maker, decided to shut down its U.S. battery plant until April 13.
LG Chemical has five plants in Korea, China, the United States and Poland with a total production capacity of about 70GWh, according to the data. By the end of this year, LG Chemical plans to increase its production capacity to 100GWh, enough to supply batteries for 1.6m electric cars.
LG Chemical’s main customers include general motors and Volkswagen. In the U.S. market, LG Chemical supplies cylindrical batteries primarily to U.S. electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors.
SKI, another South Korean battery maker, has not yet closed its plant.
The outbreak follows an executive order issued by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to require residents of the state to stay at home to prevent the outbreak from spreading. The number of confirmed cases in the state has exceeded 1,300.
Japanese battery maker Panasonic announced on March 20 that it would temporarily close its Nevada superplant, a joint venture with Tesla, Reuters reported.
At the time, Panasonic spokesman Alberto Kanal said Panasonic was committed to the health and well-being of every employee. Its super-plant in Nevada will begin cutting production early this week and will close for 14 days.
Employees affected by the closure will receive full pay and benefits for 14 days. During this 14-day period, all facilities will be thoroughly cleaned.
Panasonic has about 3,500 employees at its Super plant in Nevada. The plant produces not only batteries, but also the Model 3’s electric motors and battery packs, as well as Tesla’s energy storage products, Powerwall and Powerpack.
Panasonic declined to comment on the impact on Tesla on the shutdown.