Electric truck maker Rivian is planning to build a pilot line for battery production in South Korea, TheElec has learned.
Executives of the US firm recently visited South Korea to look for sites where the company could build the line in, sources said.
The pilot line is for research and development purposes and will conduct various tests, they said.
Those from Rivian such as cell mixing manager Johnson Mark, senior director cell engineering Victor Prajapati, senior engineer Park Ki-tae had made multiple visits to South Korea to scope the needed equipment and machinery for the line.
Rivian is planning to manufacture prismatic batteries that use nickel cobalt oxides as cathodes in the US, the sources said.
The company will likely collaborate extensively with South Korean battery equipment makers, which have experience in mass production of such batteries in their dealings with LG Energy Solution, SK On and Samsung SDI, they said.
Rivian was founded in 2009 and listed on the New York bourse last year, at one time beating Volkswagen in market capitalization.
Meanwhile, battery makers such as Northvolt, Automotive Cell Company and others have also made visits to South Korea to look for manufacturing partners.
These companies have also few alternatives besides working with South Korean companies. Europe has a supply chain of equipment vendors but they manufacture fewer units and their equipment are more expensive.
Chinese equipment vendors are busy meeting local demand from battery giants such as CATL and BYD. Japanese equipment makers meanwhile have less interest in expanding abroad.
Rivian was unavailable for comment.