SK Plans To Double Investment At U.S. Battery Factory

JAN 7 2019 BY MARK KANE 9

Construction to start later this year

As we learned in December, South Korean SK Innovation intends to build a lithium-ion battery plant in Commerce, Georgia, investing $1.67 billion and employing more than 2,000 people (first phase to be more like $1 billion and more than 1,000 jobs). The article states that by 2022, the output should reach 9.8 GWh annually.

However, according to the latest news – the plant could be way bigger than initially announced. Automotive News reports the investment could double:

“South Korean lithium ion battery producer SK Innovation Co. is doubling down on its planned $1.67 billion electric vehicle battery plant in north Georgia.

The company is considering plowing up to $5 billion more into the project, SK Innovation CEO Jun Kim said Friday.”

$5 billion would be three times the amount quoted a month ago, so there must be strong demand to hint at such an increase within such a short time frame.

SK Innovation customers:

  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Hyundai-Kia Motors
  • Volkswagen

Car plants near planned battery plant:

  • Hyundai (nearby in Alabama)
  • Mercedes (nearby in Alabama)
  • Honda (nearby in Alabama)
  • Mazda and Toyota (have broken ground on a jointly owned factory in Alabama)
  • Kia (Georgia)
  • Volkswagen (Chattanooga, Tennessee).

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Battery Tech

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9 Comments on "SK Plans To Double Investment At U.S. Battery Factory"

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Is Alabama the new Detroit?

A better question is: How much are Alabama taxpayers paying these companies to locate there and are the taxpayers getting a large return on their investment?

Can you buy a Tesla in Alabama?

The Germans and Koreans got the memo, at least. Detroit and Tokyo not so much.

As I said multiple times in different articles and forums, the investments into EVs and battery factories will be revised multiple times over the next 2 years. The 40-50$ billion investments by VW group is just the tip of the iceberg. They will increase it many times over next 3-4 years. Others like BMW, Mercedes, Ford, GM will be dragged to EVs because of competition.

Battery prices down more than 85% over the last decade even with small increase in EV capacity. The next decade will bring the real economies of scale for EV batteries. By 2020 itself EV battery capacity is going to increase by 4 times compared to 2018 as per current plans itself.

When capacity of the battery is increased by four times the range of an EV range will reach 1000 miles or more.
Charging on the road would become not necessary in most cases. Super fast charging overnight at home would have to become Norm.

I think what he meant was that the battery manufacturing capacity will increase 4 times. Energy density (amount of energy in 1 kg) cannot quadruple in 2 years.

Pretty sure he is referring to the capacity of EV battery factories, not the range of the batteries themselves.

Higher volume production leads to lower costs.

2018 battery manufacturing capacity enabled (approx):
1 million BEVs and 1 million PHEVs
(not sure about the exact split, but the total is 2 million EVs).

So if we extrapolate to 2020:
4 times the capacity will enable:
4 million BEVs and 4 million PHEVs
or 5 million BEVs
(assuming 1 BEVs has 4 times the battery capacity of an average PHEV)