SK Innovations To Invest Billions To Expand Battery Business

8 months ago by Eric Loveday 23

Kia Soul EV - Powered By SK Innovation

Kia Soul EV – Powered By SK Innovation

As of right now, SK Innovations is mostly known to us as the battery cell supplier for the Kia Soul EV, but that may change soon as the battery manufacturer has pledged to invest billions to boost its battery business and expand its global portfolio.

2015 Soul EV Features SK Innovation Battery

2015 Soul EV Features SK Innovation Battery

Reuters reports:

“SK Innovation Co Ltd, which owns South Korea’s top refiner SK Energy, said on Sunday it will spend up to 3 trillion won ($2.49 billion) in chemicals, oil exploration and battery businesses to boost its global growth.”

Part of the investment will go towards expansion of battery plants, as SK Innovations seeks out new deals/mergers, etc. on the battery front.

There are no specific details at this time, but it seems SK Innovations will seek out new deals with Korean and Chinese automakers.

There’s no denying that the tech is there for SK, as witness in the Soul EV, but SK is a rather small name in a booming sector, so in order to compete it must fight with the big players like LG Chem, Samsung and Panasonic. This investment should help SK in becoming competitive in the battery segment.

Source: Reuters

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23 responses to "SK Innovations To Invest Billions To Expand Battery Business"

  1. Someone out there says:

    Very nice. If the price is right there is an almost bottomless market for batteries right now and in the near future.

    1. SJC says:

      SK are polymer batteries which require heaters.

      1. Just_Chris says:

        do you have a link that talks about their battery technology?

        1. SJC says:

          The Kia Soul EV and the Hyundai Niro use SK, they provide resistance heaters but just air cooling.

      2. Think there is some miss information in the above statement regarding heaters, that needs to be clairified.

        The Soul EV like the LEAF, Model S, etc uses restive heater in the pack for cold weather operation only. In fact only Soul EVs sold in cooler climates (Oregon, Washington, etc) have battery pack heater installed by default from the factory. Soul EVs sold in location like California, Georgia, Hawaii & Texas do not come with pack heating installed by default.
        (see Kia(.com) inventory and vehicle specs via a zip code search to verify)

  2. DangerHV says:

    Eric, your headline misrepresents the statement quoted in the article:
    “SK Innovation Co Ltd,…..said on Sunday it will spend up to 3 trillion won ($2.49 billion) in chemicals, oil exploration and battery businesses to boost its global growth.”
    Maybe I’m just nit-picking.

    1. realistic says:

      No, you’re not “nit-picking”. The title is quite misleading.

    2. AlphaEdge says:

      No you’re not nit-picking.

      Very misleading title.

  3. spinner says:

    Hopefully the packs as a whole will become standardised and interchangeable.

    1. alohart says:

      Nice ideal, but fitting a large battery pack in a vehicle while minimizing the amount of interior space lost in addition to the various battery cell form factors make standardizing size impossible without wasting valuable space and restricting vehicle design. This is similar to cell phones for which there cannot be a standard battery size.

  4. tftf says:

    Not just Kia.

    SK Inno scored kind of a surprise win with Daimler in 2016:

    http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSL3N15W1A1

  5. Michael Will says:

    Wonder how great those oil batteries will be

    1. AlphaEdge says:

      They found a way to drill them out of the ground! 😉

      1. Just_Chris says:

        IMO an oil company investing in increasing the size of it’s battery factory is more interesting than an oil company investing in more oil assets. It’s a bit like the push of middle eastern nations into renewable energy and aluminum production.

  6. Tech01x says:

    I am very concerned about the high levels of degradation exhibited by Kia Soul EV packs in Idaho National Labs testing. We don’t need that kind of problem to plague EVs or unfairly tarnish other manufacturer’s products.

    1. Rich says:

      I agree that battery degradation is a major concern when purchasing a BEV.
      IMO, all BEV manufacturers should provide a battery degradation warranty like the Nissan Leaf. The Chevy Bolt provides a battery degradation warranty, although the level warrantied is low. To my knowledge, these are the only 2 BEVs on the market with a battery degradation warranty.

    2. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

      Was the testing updated for 2017? The most recent test results that I could find was the second test on the Kia’s battery from January 2016. My Google-foo is weak this Sunday morning.

      https://avt.inl.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/fsev/batterySoul1920.pdf

      1. Rich says:

        I Don’t see any test results for ICD 3, which IMO is arguably the most important value for this test. If a battery loses an initial “high” percentage, but then the degradation flatlines after that … *shrug*. If the behavior is known and accepted, then who cares.

        Looks like INL is testing at least 3 of them. The link you have plus the 2 below.
        https://avt.inl.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/fsev/batterySoul1918.pdf
        https://avt.inl.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/fsev/batterySoul1919.pdf

  7. Rob Stark says:

    $1.5B for oil exploration.
    $800M for chemicals.
    $149M for expanding battery factories?

    1. Dav8or says:

      Sounds like a reasoned business plan. Building out a lot of capacity for battery production before they actually have demand for their product could end badly. Best to be conservative.

  8. EV Man says:

    I have a Bmw i3 22kwh , and i understand the Soul and i3 are opposite in approach
    i3 – very light body and everything and among the heaviest battery packs.

    I had read the about the heavy battery packs in a article .

    The Soul is heavy body ( ICE Body) and lighter polymer battery.

    I do not know about longevity , but the lighter battery packs , would surely cost more than the heavy packs.

    1. Jason says:

      Why assume lighter battery cost more than heavy battery? It would be dependant on materials used in each. Over time the battery has become cheaper and more energy dense. More energy dense means lighter and/or smaller for same amount of energy, so you can either use same space and have more energy or reduce the space needed in the vehicle design.

      i3 might be using an older style battery that is heavier and Soul might be using a newer type battery that is lighter. They could cost the same amount or one could be more expensive.

      It’s too simplistic to equate weight to cost as there are so many factors involved.

      Generally BMW is a high priced marquee demanding a premium price, and Kia is not. i3 uses a more expensive carbon fibre frame. So battery price most likely is less different in the two vehicles.