SK Innovation might build a second battery plant in the U.S. and expand its upcoming 2nd plant in Hungary.

SK Innovation, South Korea’s biggest oil refiner and one of the leading battery manufacturers, once again shared battery manufacturing capacity expansion plans. The South Korean company is already busy at several new sites.

The latest plans concern the U.S. and Hungary/Europe where SK Innovation faces even higher demand for lithium-ion cells than previously anticipated.

"South Korea’s SK Innovation Co Ltd plans to build a second electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in the United States and is considering expanding another factory in Hungary to meet soaring demand for EV cells, its chief executive told Reuters."

U.S.

In the U.S., SK Innovation is working on a 9.8 GWh battery plant in Commerce, Georgia, which is expected to go online in 2022. The biggest customer for the cells is probably Volkswagen.

To satisfy demand, the company is now planning a second 10 GWh plant, that might cost about $1 billion. The decision will be made in H1 2020.

"SK Innovation’s second plant at its under-construction production site in the U.S. state of Georgia could have a capacity equivalent to 10 GWh, Kim said, declining to identify customers.

The firm has already pledged to invest $1.7 billion to build the first, 9.8 GWh factory to serve Volkswagen AG’s (VOWG_p.DE) EV base in neighboring Tennessee, with production on track to begin early in 2022."

Hungary

The first 7.5 GWh battery plant in Hungary is expected to be ready and operational this year, but as demand increased, there is a need for more manufacturing capacity.

The second 10 GWh battery plant was scheduled for 2022, but it might not be enough so SK Innovation is considering two options. Expand it from 10 GWh annually to 16 GWh annually, or place another 6 GWh plant in another European country.

"In Hungary, SK Innovation is considering expanding its second plant - currently under construction - to 16 GWh from 10 GWh to boost supply to Volkswagen, Kim said, adding the firm is in talks with the automaker to turn it into a joint venture.

A spokeswoman said another option under consideration is to build the additional 6 GWh capacity in a European country other than Hungary."

Updated list of SK Innovation battery projects and production capacity roadmap:

SK Innovation production capacity roadmap:

  • Today: around 5 GWh annually
  • by the end of 2019: 20 GWh annually
  • 2020: 40 GWh annually
  • 2022: 60 GWh annually
  • 2025: 100 GWh annually and an order backlog of 700 GWh
  • 2030: 200 GWh annually

Source: Reuters