Volvo is on the verge of partnering with electronics giant LG to develop new cars, reports suggest.
According to Pulse, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson met with the head of LG Electronics’ vehicle components division, Lee Woo-jong, at LG headquarters in South Korea last month.
It is thought the two companies would collaborate on the development of in-car technologies vital for autonomous EVs, rather than set up a simple buyer/supplier relationship.
LG Electronics is one of the biggest suppliers of electronic components to the auto industry. For instance, it produces 11 key systems for General Motors’ Chevrolet Bolt EV, including drive motors and inverter battery packs. But industry insiders indicate the company is behind the curve on automotive high technology, like autonomous drive systems. Volvo, by contrast, has been working on autonomous cars for some time, launching a testing program of its driverless XC90 SUV on public roads earlier this year.
A tie-up between the two would give LG a leg-up towards the technology that will be in key in cars just a few years from now, while Volvo would be able to draw on LG’s quick and agile research and development capabilities.
A relationship between Volvo and LG already exists, as LG Chem supplies batteries to the automaker - among many others. Deepening ties by linking up with the electronics division could also give Volvo access to more advanced battery tech for its upcoming EV, due in 2019, that Volvo claims will have a range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles).
LG and Volkswagen recently announced they will work together to develop next-gen infotainment systems. LG is also expected to supply touchscreens for the Tesla Model 3.
Officials from Volvo’s Chinese parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding Co., also met LG chairman Koo Bon-moo in November.
Geely, LG, and Volvo have not commented on their meetings.