BlueOval SK, the battery joint venture between SK On and Ford, is unlikely to Chinese equipment maker for its planned factory in the US due to the ongoing trade war between the US and China.
Ultium Cells, the joint venture between LG Energy Solution and General Motors, had also excluded Chinese suppliers for their factories for the same reason.
South Korean equipment makers Kapjin and Wonik PNE are taking part in BlueOval SK’s equipment bidding order for its planned factory in Tennessee, which had Wednesday as the deadline, sources said.
Out of the 3 trillion won that will be spent on the factory, around 1 trillion won will be for equipment.
Kapjin and Wonik PNE are experts in making formation and cycler equipment used in battery production.
Kapjin had in the past supplied SK On with formation equipment for their factories in China and Hungary.
Meanwhile, Wonik PNE had supplied its kits to SK On for their factory in Georgia.
China’s Zhejiang Hangke had also been a supplier for SK On’s factory in Invacsa, Hungary, and the second factory in Yancheng, China.
The deals combined were worth 730 million yuan, or 140 billion won, for the Chinese equipment maker.
While the US Inflation Reduction Act doesn’t include battery equipment, it will be difficult for SK On to choose Zhejiang Hangke as a supplier to BlueOval SK, the sources said.
The Chinese battery equipment maker is also a supplier to LG Energy Solution and Samsung SDI.
While the company’s technology is not at the level of its South Korean counterparts, its equipment is price-competitive, being offered at as low as 60% of its competitors, the sources said.