SK Innovation Increases Investment in U.S. Battery Factory

by David Mowatt

South Korean battery producer SK Innovation has recently announced that they intend to more than triple their investment in their battery plant in the U.S.

Back in December 2018, SK Innovation announced their plan to construct a new battery manufacturing plant in Jackson County, Georgia, northeast of Atlanta.  At the time, SK Innovation planned to invest approximately $1.67 billion into the Georgia plant in an attempt to better compete with the growing global electric vehicle marketplace.

Following their initial announcement,  Jun Kim, CEO of SK Innovation, stated:

“We are excited to bolster our presence in the United States by making this investment in Georgia. SK Innovation is a worldwide leader in the energy industry and this latest investment will allow us to work with the growing automotive industry in the Southeastern United States, ensuring future partnerships for years to come.”

According to recent reports form Automotive News, SK Innovation ” is considering plowing up to $5 billion more into the project.”

Andrew Fulbrook, the executive director of light-vehicle powertrain research and analysis for IHS Markit, commented on the announcement, stating:

“Our latest expectation is that global capacity for automotive traction batteries will need to rise to over 550 gigawatt-hours in 2025 in order to satisfy our latest demand projections.”

When SK Innovation first announced the plant’s construction, it made perfect sense to establish a battery factory just an hour northeast of Atlanta as Hyundai, Honda, and Mercedes all operate assembly plants nearby in Alabama. Mazda and Toyota, two automakers who recently broke ground on a jointly owned factory in Alabama, as well as Kia and Volkswagen, also operate nearby assembly plants. By being within a close proximity of multiple big-named assembly plants, SK Innovation will be able to cheaply and effortlessly supply batteries to various companies within the U.S.

With the announcement to invest over $5 billion into their new factory, SK Innovation’s U.S. plant could potentially serve as direct competition for Tesla and Panasonic’s Gigafactory 1.

Source: Automotive News


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