Rivian's EV Battery Supplier Is a Mystery, Might Be LG Chem in South Korea

The most futuristic EVs are here. Which battery manufacturer helps Rivian power its EVs? Can investors get access to LG Chem stock?

Rachel Curry - Author

Jan. 5 2021, Published 2:04 p.m. ET

Rivian Automotive, the EV automaker responsible for producing the R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV, has achieved quite a bit of success. However, Rivian has received some help along the way.

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Rivian's battery supplier has a major hand in the company's success. While Rivian is based in Michigan, its batteries hail from as far away as South Korea.

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Rivian produces its own prototypes

Rivian has built out an entire leg of its company to be wholly dedicated to battery research and development. The facility is called the battery lab. The company produces prototype-level batteries and tests lithium-ion batteries at the facility. 

The Rivian R1T and R1S both offer a massive 180kW version of the battery. Ultimately, these models are able to produce 80 percent more power than the Tesla Model S or Model X. With a range exceeding 400 miles, Rivian aptly calls its largest battery a "megapack."

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The battery lab is located in California. Specifically, the lab operates in a 19,000 square-foot complex that's been up and running since 2017. However, with years of stealth mode under its belt, the building is rather unassuming with minimal signage.

Rivian's battery supplier is likely in South Korea

rivian lg chem
Source: LG Chem

LG Chem CEO Hak Cheol Shin

While Rivian performs R&D and some prototype production in its battery lab, the large-scale production takes place elsewhere. The company hasn't officially declared a battery supplier. However, thanks to U.S. customs import records, there are clues about who it might be.

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There's evidence to suggest that Rivian is working in tandem with LG Chem, a company that's headquartered in Seoul, South Korea.  

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Records between Rivian and LG Chem suggest that the two companies have been partnering on tens of thousands of pounds of battery materials, namely 28,500 pounds of the 2170 form factor lithium-ion cells used in their electric vehicle batteries.

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LG Chem stock on the KRX

Investors can find LG Chem shares on the Korea Exchange under the ticker "051910." The stock has been on an upward trajectory since March 20, 2020. The stock has grown 227.71 percent through the market open on Jan. 5.

Recently, LG Chem reported statutory profits, which means that it received a bump to help it profit in the short term. Lately, the company has reported more unusual expenses. Despite the profit, it might not equate to long-term fiscal health. Investors should keep an eye on LG Chem's upcoming earnings reports.

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How to buy LG Chem stock

If you want to buy LG Chem stock individually, you can use a local South Korean broker. You can also invest directly, but that requires you to fill out an IRC (investor registration certificate) from South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service. After you take one of these two steps, you can invest through a Korean brokerage account. You should be able to find international offices of names you know, like Merrill Lynch International. 

You can also find LG Chem stock on the OTC markets and in ETFs (like "LIT," the lithium and battery tech ETF that trades on the NYSE Arca).

In 2021, U.S. investors may even see an LG Chem battery spin-off on domestic exchanges. 


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