SK Innovation plans to invest 1.98 trillion South Korean won (US$1.01 billion) to establish an electric vehicle (EV) batteries production base in Jackson County, Georgia as they look to establish themselves in the US, “the largest battleground of global automakers”.
The plant will be built on a 278-acre site in Commerce City and is expected to have an annual production capacity of 9.8 gigawatt-hours.
The announcement confirms speculation of such a project reported earlier this year.
The state of Georgia will provide administrative support, including education, training, and employment programmes.
In addition, SK Innovation— part of South Korean conglomerate, the SK Group— will establish SK Battery America (working title) as a subsidiary to handle their US investments, both current and future. This move should enable the SK Group to avoid a potential 25% US auto tariff that the Trump White House has threatened to impose, made more likely by General Motors’ recent decision to idle five factories in North America.
“SK Innovation has been actively seeking a production base to secure competitiveness and increase orders in the battery business, a major global market”, said chief executive Kim Joon. “With our business of the hub of the global auto industry, we will grow as a top player in the battery business.”
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (pictured) commented: “SK innovation’s decision to make this significant investment and create more than 2,000 jobs in Jackson County reflects Georgia’s reputation as a top destination for international businesses, especially those in the automotive supply sector.”
Construction is expected to start on the plant in early 2019, and mass supply is expected from 2022.