SFA, South Korea’s largest equipment vendor by revenue, will take part in Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup’s battery project, TheElec confirmed on Wednesday.
Vingroup is planning to produce its own battery cell via its automobile affiliate VinFast, people familiar with the matter said.
VinFast has sent a request for quotation to SFA for the project. The South Korean equipment vendor was internally discussing the matter and has decided to participate, they added.
It plans to form a consortium with compatriots Yunsung F&C and A-Pro to successfully win the order as VinFast was requesting turn-key for the entire battery production line.
The planned battery production line will be built for an annual output of 2.5GWh and produce 21700 batteries.
Vingroup was planning to expand it afterwards for an output of up to 5GWh, the people said.
It takes around 80 billion to 100 billion won in land, building and equipment to build a production line with an annual output of 1GWh.
SFA will supply the equipment for distribution and transfer at the end of the battery production process.
It was also considering supplying equipment for battery assembly. However, the South Korean maker only has experience in providing equipment for pouch battery cells and not circular ones like 21700. It will likely give the order for assembly equipment to a third-party.
Yunsung will provide the mixing equipment and A-Pro the formation equipment.
Meanwhile, VinFast originally planned to form a joint venture with LG Chem for the battery cell production line. But talks between the companies failed. Instead, the two formed a joint venture for only battery packs, back in April 2019. Vingroup later collaborated with South Korean company Top Battery for battery materials and cell design but the talks also wen't nowhere.
Vingroup is planning to produce its own electric vehicle (EV) starting in January next year and has also formed a research center in Australia for automobiles and batteries. It will likely continue to collaborate with South Korean equipment vendors going forward.
There were other South Korean firms showing interesting in Vingroup’s battery project besides SFA, the people said, and they will likely gain some benefits from the project as there were many South Korean battery industry experts working at VinFast.