SK Innovation's SK On might soon develop and add a lithium-ion LFP battery chemistry to its portfolio, after years of sticking with NCM with higher and higher nickel content in a never-ending race for higher energy density.
According to Reuters, Jee Dong-seob, CEO of SK On, revealed earlier this month that the company is "considering developing lithium iron phosphate batteries (LFP)."
The reason is simple, the LFP appears to be good enough in terms of energy density for basic requirements in EVs and excellent in terms of cost, safety and longevity. More and more carmakers are turning to LFPs now, as they were improved and combined with modern cell-to-pack or even structural battery approach.
“There is an interest in LFP technology from automakers.”
It would be actually the second South Korean battery manufacturer that would like to expand its offer to LFP, after a separate report about LG Chem's LG Energy Solution a month earlier. It will be interesting to see Samsung SDI's decision as well.
Panasonic, on the other hand, appears to not be interested in LFP right now, while the Chinese battery makers CATL and BYD are all-in.
Anyway, LFP would not be the only new branch for SK Innovation's SK On, as the company is also involved in solid-state batteries with the most recent investment in Solid Power. This type of batteriy would be targeted for the high-end of the market (especially initially).
The solid-state batteries are expected to appear on the market as early as in 2025 - according to the head of battery research at the South Korean company (via Bloomberg) - but we all know that those are not certain time frames and that they might change.