SK Innovation is building a second electric-vehicle battery cell production facility at its Seosan complex in South Chungcheong, production starts in 2018.
The new facility will have an annual production of 3 GWh, while the current facility production is 1 GWh. Both combined will be able to supply 4 GWh worth of electric vehicle battery cells to automakers like Kia and Mercedes Benz.
The Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ is expected to have a battery with at least 70 kWh capacity. This means that the new SK innovation 3 GWh facility would be able to supply battery cells for almost 43.000 battery packs per year. The battery packs will be assembled by Daimler’s subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive at the new facility which is being built in Kamenz, Germany and is expected to enter into service in mid-2018.
The current Kia Soul EV has a 27 kWh battery made with SK innovation cells. This well-built electric car has suffered from production constrictions.
At its home market, South Korea, only 453 Kia Soul EV were sold this year, from January to September. While in the same period Kia’s sister company Hyundai sold 1.304 IONIQ EV and this model is only available since last summer.
SK innovation battery cell production increase drops the kWh cost and might help Kia’s decision to increase the Soul EV production. Yet it’s curious that Kia uses SK innovation battery cells, while Hyundai went for a safer route and chose LG Chem as its supplier.
What do you think? Will SK innovation ever be a major battery cell maker like Panasonic, LG Chem or Samsung SDI?