Late last month the South Korean battery cell maker, SK Innovation increased its annual cell production capacity by 25 %, from 0,8 GWh to 1 GWh (1.000.000 kWh). The battery cell maker says this is enough to produce annually 40.000 electric car batteries, but this figure seems a bit unrealistic. For this prediction to be accurate, in average each electric car battery produced has only 25 kWh capacity. To be more accurate, in 2017 not many electric cars will have batteries with a capacity inferior to 40 kWh. If each electric car has in average a 40 kWh battery, the 1 GWh annual production is only enough for 25.000 batteries.
This recent battery cell production increase might indicate that finally the Kia Soul EV will no longer be production restricted, this is especially important now that this electric car is about to get a range increase.
It’s clear that this battery plant in South Korea will not enough in 2017. This is why in April SK Innovation Vice Chairman Chung Cheol-gil said the following:
“We will generate tangible results this year over our plan to establish EV battery plants in China.”
Other South Korean cell makers like Samsung SDI and LG Chem already established plants in China, but are having problems to get certification from the Chinese government, the certification is required so that electric cars using those batteries are approved for government subsidies.
Currently SK Innovation only counts South Korea’s Kia Motors and China’s BAIC Motor Corp as its customers. But next year another customer will be added to the list, Germany’s Mercedes-Benz. After Samsung SDI and LG Chem announced plans to build battery cell plants in Europe, SK Innovation could follow the example.