South Korea’s SK Innovation chose Chinese company Lead Intelligent Equipment to supply key equipment for its EV battery plant in Changzhou of China, according to industry sources on Nov. 11. This is the first time the firms struck a business deal.
The equipment will be used for stacking, which comes after the notching process. Stack equipment usually go into pairs of two to four in each production line. Given a similar example with LG Chem, it is most likely that Lead will supply around 10 machines.
Industry sources believe SK Innovation chose the Chinese company to facilitate localization, given that EVE Energy – which has agreed to set up a battery JV with SK Innovation – is a primary client for Lead. So is CATL.
“Lead is dominant when it comes to square-type EV batteries,” said one industry source.
Lead Intelligent Equipment is a Wuxi-headquartered battery equipment company established in 2002. From mixing to formation, the firm is capable of offering turnkey solutions. It usually manufactures equipment for square and cylindrical type batteries for EVs, along with those for making small, pouch-types used mainly for smartphones.
But the firm has yet to become capable of delivering such solutions for SK Innovation’s pouch-types, which is why the firm will only provide stack equipment for now, according to those close to the matter.
SK Innovation’s Changzhou plant produces 7.5GWh worth of EV batteries per year, in a joint effort with its partner Beijing Automotive Group.
A total of 579.9 billion won was invested into this plant. A second battery plant will now be built in Huizhou, this time with EVE Energy, which invested $525 million. Each party will hold a 50% stake in the firm.
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