South Korea’s SK Innovation to build first U.S. EV battery plant

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SEOEL – SK innovation in South Korea said Monday it will spend 1.14 trillion ($ 1.01 billion) to build its first electric vehicle battery plant in the United States to better compete in the global EV battery market.

The plant has an annual capacity of 9.7 gigawatt-hours of batteries. SK Innovation starts construction in the southeastern US state of Georgia at the start of 2019, with production focused on 2022, the company said in a statement.

Last month SK Innovation said it is considering building an EV battery factory in the United States to win customers in one of the world's top markets for electric vehicles.

SK Innovation, owner of South Korea's best refinery, SK Energy, and part of the national number 3 conglomerate, delivers its batteries to various global automakers, including Daimler and Hyundai Motor, but has no US customers.

"SK Innovation has been actively seeking a production base to safeguard the competitiveness of the battery business in the large international market," said Kim Jun, CEO of SK Innovation, in the statement.

"With our company at the center of the global automotive industry, we will grow as a top player in the battery business," he said.

The cross-town rival of SK Innovation, LG Chem, runs an electric battery factory in Michigan that supplies batteries to General Motors.

SK Innovation works at home with battery factories and has plans to build battery banks abroad, including in Hungary and China.

In October, the company said it plans to invest $ 355 million in a plant to produce major EV battery parts in China.

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