USLAN, South Korea – The rumours popped up at the Taipei Cycle Show. E-bike makers told about an imminent crisis between Robert Bosch GmbH and its South-Korean partner Samsung SDI on their battery joint-venture SB LiMotive Co. Ltd. Founded in 2008 and officially taken into operation end of 2010 the partnership between the two companies was formed for making lithium-ion battery cells for (among others products) hybrid and e-vehicles.
The lithium-ion battery cells for e-bikes fitted with the Bosch drive systems were planned to be manufactured at the Samsung SDI facility located in Uslan. It is said that the two companies are to end their joint venture.
Series production of lithium-ion battery cells
End of 2010, at the official SB LiMotive facility opening, the plan was to start with the series production of lithium-ion battery cells for 60,000 vehicles in 2012 and to expand this to up to 180,000 by 2015. Currently however, German newspapers report on a possible end of the partnership. They state that the two companies differ on what’s to be produced.
Due to its history Samsung SDI is mainly interested in the production of high-end battery cells. Bosch is more looking at the entire system and is interested in addressing problems as overheating and durability. Due to such different views several projects were not finished yet. This led to frustration on both sides.
Bosch’s lithium-ion battery customer BMW
According to the newspapers Bosch is already working on a worst-case scenario; including the question how to secure the delivery of lithium-ion battery cells to its customers. According to a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Bosch’s lithium-ion battery customer BMW isn’t that worried: “We expect that possible changes of the joint-venture won’t influence any supply relation.” For Bosch it has been important to be on board during the first phase: “Bosch is experienced in the automotive sector; Samsung comes out of the consumer electronics market.“