As such, electric-vehicle bulls who find Tesla Motors ’ (ticker: TSLA) stock too volatile—a fifth of its outstanding shares are borrowed by short sellers—can turn to Korean battery makers LG Chem (051910.Korea) and Samsung SDI (006400.Korea) at much cheaper prices
In battery technology, the rest of the world is headed in the direction opposite Tesla, a pioneer in packaging arrays of cheap, commoditized laptop batteries to power cars. The other car makers have turned to the two Korean suppliers, which claim that their larger batteries are safer. They also are more expensive.
“Korea is steaming ahead,” says Bernstein Research’s Mark Newman. Market leader LG Chem, which supplies GM (GM), has made significant cost reductions by packing more energy density into its batteries—in the case of GM, by 30% to 40% from the first-generation plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt to the all-electric 2017 Bolt. LG Chem supplies 13 of the top 20 global auto makers and six of China’s top 10.