The two are already partners, as SK Innovation supplies lithium-ion cells for Hyundai and Kia plug-in cars so one might wonder, what's the deal now?
Well, it seems that the idea is for a more comprehensive approach, far beyond a stable supply of lithium-ion batteries, but also battery sales solutions, battery management service, reuse of old batteries (second life in energy storage), recycle batteries (to extract valuable metals such as lithium, nickel and cobalt) and develop a virtuous cycle of battery usage known as the Battery as a Service (BaaS).
"Unlike existing cooperation schemes between mobility companies and battery companies that tended to center on battery supply, the Hyundai-SK cooperation aims for a virtuous cycle of battery usage known as the Battery as a Service (BaaS), which includes lease or rental service. As a result, the cooperation is expected to catalyse the spread of diverse cooperation systems between mobility and battery companies.
Through this partnership, the two parties aim to strengthen the stability of the battery supply chain and create a virtuous cycle of resources from recycling to production; reduce carbon emissions; encourage optimal design that connects EVs and battery reuse, and create synergies by maximizing added value through the optimal design of batteries."
"Furthermore, Hyundai Motor Group and SK Innovation plan to synergize their respective affiliates’ business infrastructures and capabilities spanning diverse industries, thereby strengthening their battery competitiveness and expanding the growth of related sectors."
It really sounds like a long-term strategic partnership between the South Korean manufacturers.
The first joint step to reusing old batteries is the initial process of collecting and verifying the battery pack of Kia Motors’ Niro EV model.
"Apart from collaborating with SK Innovation, Hyundai Motor Group is striving to secure and open up new markets by collaborating with global players specializing in EV battery reuse, including Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Wärtsilä, OCI, and Hanwha Solutions. The Group, via the collaboration with SK Innovation Co., plans to fundamentally reinforce its technological competitiveness by securing technology and infrastructure, and expand its business areas."
SK Innovation is one of the key suppliers for the upcoming Hyundai Motor Group’s all-new Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) for all-electric cars. The first model based on the E-GMP will be launched in 2021.