After LG Chem and Samsung SDI, it’s now time for the other South Korean battery cell maker – SK Innovation – start building its plant in Europe.
Below we have the press release.
On March 8th (local time), SK Innovation held a groundbreaking ceremony to build an electric vehicle (EV) battery factory named ‘SK Battery Hungary’ in Komárom, Hungary.
About 300 representatives attended in the ceremony, including Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Szijjártó Péter, Ambassador Choi Kyoo-sik of the Republic of Korea to Hungary, Vice Chairman Chey Jae-won of SK Group and CEO Kim Jun of SK Innovation.
SK Innovation secured 430,000 m2 of site in Komárom for the factoryd on long-term contract with European carmakers and began the construction of SK Battery Hungary last month in the city of Komárom–Esztergom County at about 110 km northwest of Budapest, the capital of Hungary. SK Innovation plans to invest a total of KRW 840.2 billion until 2022.
The batteries to be produced in SK Battery Hungary will be third-generation EV batteries, which give an EV 500km range with one charge. The company had announced in September, 2017 that it would start mass-producing of the world’s first medium-to-large NCM (nickel:cobalt:manganese) pouches at a ratio of 8:1:1.
SK Battery Hungary is expected to work as an important bridgehead for expanding its business area into the European market.
SK Battery Hungary expects to start mass-producing and supplying the batteries from early 2020. Once all the production lines are installed, the factory’s production capacity will reach 7.5 GWh per year.
SK Innovation is currently producing pouch type-batteries for EV at its Seosan battery factory in Korea, which produces 3.9 GWh annually.
With so many giant automakers located in Europe having to shift to electric cars during the next decade, it’s understandable that their new suppliers (EV battery cell makers) are already placing themselves in the region.
More plants around the globe producing NCM 811 battery cells is always good news. This type of battery cells are more energy dense and use less cobalt. Nonetheless, this raw material is still problematic since most of it comes from the Republic of the Congo.
However, to overcome this problem SK Innovation recently signed a cobalt supply deal with Australian mines. After Congo, Australia has the biggest cobalt reserves in the world. Furthermore, in Australia there is plenty of nickel and manganese. With everything needed to make NCM battery cells and plenty of sunshine I wouldn’t be surprised if Tesla decided to have a Gigafactory in Australia.