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Samsung Gives Up on Fuel Cells to Focus on Batteries

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2015 Nissan LEAF battery pack

2015 Nissan LEAF battery pack

To make the batteries and fuel cells in electric and hybrid vehicles, most automakers turn to third-party manufacturers. One of the largest of these battery manufacturers is South Korea’s Samsung SDI, whose battery and fuel cell business has ballooned out from Samsung’s longtime production of batteries and fuel cells to power electronics.

While the company’s main automotive-related business is producing EV batteries, it has played around with fuel cell technology, an area normally only explored by Japanese companies that supply Toyota and Honda’s fuel cell car programs.

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Now, though, Samsung SDI has decided that making hydrogen fuel cells for cars is no longer worth it, and will be dropping its fuel cell projects, selling off all the related equipment and patents to a local company. This isn’t a good sign for hydrogen cars, a type of vehicle that already had some serious problems to overcome.

According to a company spokesperson talking to The Korea Times, Samsung SDI had reached the conclusion that “the outlook of the [fuel cell] market isn’t good,” so the brand would instead be focusing all its efforts on improving battery tech.

This may be a good idea, as, along with LG Chem, Samsung will be providing battery packs for Audi’s upcoming all-electric SUV, and is already providing the batteries for BMW’s i3 and i8. Plus, according to Green Car Reports, Samsung is one of a few battery suppliers currently talking to Tesla Motors about providing battery packs for the auto manufacturer’s upcoming Model 3. Presumably, Panasonic, Tesla’s current and sole battery provider, might not be able to produce enough batteries to keep up with Tesla’s incredibly ambitious sales goals.

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News Source: Green Car Reports