South Korea’s SK Innovation (SKI) is to build a second battery manufacturing plant in China in response to increasing global demand from the electric vehicle sector.
CEO Kim Jun (pictured) said the company intends to invest 579.9 billion Korean won (US$488 million) in the lithium-ion batteries project, which will be a joint venture with the Beijing Automobile Works Company— a subsidiary of the state-owned BAIC Group.
Detailed investment plans along with the site and size of the plant have yet to be finalised— but SKI said the investment was needed in a “timely manner” to boost the group’s overall production of batteries.
The first step will be to set up a corporate entity through which financing for the China project will be made.
SKI said last year that its first joint venture battery plant in China, at Changzhou in Jiangsu Province, was part of the company’s plans to establish a production “triangle” encompassing China, Korea and Europe. Full production of 7.5GWh annually is expected at Changzhou in the first half of 2020.
In addition to its expansion in China, SKI expects its battery manufacturing plant in Hungary to ramp up to full production capacity of 7.5GWh annually next year. A second plant in Hungary will increase production capacity to around 9GWh by 2022, the company said.
Last March, SKI broke ground on a US$1.1bn electric vehicle batteries production plant in the US state of Georgia, which will have an annual production capacity of around 60GWh of lithium-ion batteries annually by 2022— when full production is slated to start.