The latest news about SK Innovation's battery ban in the U.S. throws new light on the possible target production volume of two upcoming models: Ford F-150 Electric and Volkswagen ID.4.

Let's recall that the South Korean company is building two battery factories at a site in Commerce, Georgia. The first plant (9.8 GWh) was expected to be ready in 2021 (mass production from 2022), while the second one (11.7 GWh) in 2023. The combined output would be 21.5 GWh of lithium-ion battery cells annually.

SK Innovation

According to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) announcement, SK Innovation will be allowed to produce batteries for the Ford F-150 Electric program for 4 years, and Volkswagen ID.4 (MEB) program for 2 years, to give the carmakers time to find new suppliers. We assume that those were the two main customers (one plant for Ford and one for Volkswagen deals).

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Technical Cutaway
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Technical Cutaway
Ford F-150 EV prototype
Ford F-150 EV prototype

Knowing that we can try to estimate the target manufacturing volume. If both manufacturers would be getting roughly 10 GWh of battery annually, then the EV production in the U.S. would be:

  • Ford F-150 Electric: 50,000 to 100,000 a year (assuming 100-200 kWh battery per vehicle)
  • Volkswagen ID.4 (MEB vehicles): 120,000-160,000 a year (assuming 62-82 kWh battery per vehicle)

We guess that it will take a while for Ford to reach 50,000 a year, but it would be a reasonable initial target. The start is scheduled for mid-2022.

Volkswagen probably targets a much higher level, at least 100,000, maybe even 200,000 MEB-based vehicles a year.

The situation with SK Innovation is not clear as of now (the case is terminated, but the President might change it). For sure there are various settlement options on the table, acquisition of the plants by the manufacturers themselves or competitors. Anyway, the F-150 and VW MEB projects in the U.S. will probably continue, possibly with some tweaks or delays.

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