At SK Innovation's Seosan plant, electric vehicle battery cells are being produced.
SK Innovation is targeting the US EV battery market.
According to industry sources, SK Innovation will launch a groundbreaking ceremony for the Battery Plant in Commerce City, Jackson County, Georgia this week. SK Battery America, a local corporation, and officials from Commerce City will be attending the ceremony.
This is the first time SK Innovation has built an electric car battery factory in the US. The groundbreaking ceremony for the overseas plant is the third one after Hungary's Komárom in March 2018 and Changzhou in August 2018. The investment amount is 1,139.6 billion won, and it uses about 340,000 pyeong of land. The size is the single largest production line of the 9.8 GWh per year. SK Battery America will invest in construction investment and working capital in the form of annual contributions.
SK Innovation's electric vehicle battery production base will be established as a global quadrant structure as the United States is added to Korea, China, and Europe. Mass production will take place in the first plant in Hungary Komárom and the Changzhou factory in China in the first half of next year. The mass production at the Georgia plant and Komárom plant 2 will take place in 2022. The construction of the second plant in Komárom also starts this month. Both plants will produce 18.8 GWh of EV batteries per year.
Even if all of the investment plans announced so far were to be combined, it would not be possible to secure the 60GWh capacity in 2022 as the CEO of SK Innovation, Kim Jun, announced as the mid- to long-term target at the CES 2019 exhibition. The combined capacity will only reach 38.5 GWh adding Seosan (4.7 GWh), Changzhou (7.5 GWh), Komárom plant 1 (7.5 GWh), Komárom plant 2 (9 GWh, estimated), and Georgia (9.8 GWh). To reach the goal, the investment of the scale of the Georgia factory should be doubly increased.
SK Innovation's EV battery order backlog is estimated at 320GWh, which is estimated to be more than 40 trillion won. It is a strategy of 'post-order investment' in order to increase the number of plants after receiving orders first. Investments in Georgia and Komarom plant 2 were also publicized after the company was selected as the EV battery supplier for the Volkswagen Modular Electric Drive (MEB) platform in Germany. The industry expects additional investments in the Changzhou and Georgia factories.
According to market researcher SNE Research, worldwide EV battery shipments totaled 109.8 GWh last year. While China CATL (23.0%) and Japan Panasonic (21.9%) are topping the list, SK Innovation is expected to enter the top 10 next year.