SK Innovation completes first overseas electric vehicle battery plant in China

06, Dec. 2019

SEOUL -- SK Innovation, the electric vehicle battery-making wing of South Korea's conglomerate SK Group, opened its first overseas joint-venture battery plant in China. Full operation will begin in early 2020.

SK Innovation (SKI) said that a tape-cutting ceremony was held on Thursday at the battery plant in Changzhou some 945 kilometers (587 miles) southeast of Beijing. SKI set up a joint venture with China’s state-run Beijing Electronic and Beijing Automotive Industry Holdings to build the plant called BEST.

BEST's annual production capacity of 7.5 gigawatts per hour is enough for about 150,000 electric vehicles. SKI's battery plant in Hungary has yet to be completed. "We took the first step to secure a global competitive edge in our battery business," SKI CEO Kim Jun was quoted as saying.

SKI has stepped up efforts to expand the production of batteries for electric vehicles. In September, the company established a joint venture with Shenzen-based energy company EVE Energy to build a battery plant at an undecided location.

The company plans to secure a capacity of 60 GWh (gigawatt hours) by 2022 through expanded facilities in China, Hungary and the United States. SKI's U.S. plant will be built in Commerce in Jackson County, Georgia. German auto giant Volkswagen has selected SKI as the fourth strategic supplier of battery cells to cover its demand in North America.