Korean battery company SK Innovation has announced it will build a factory to produce lithium-ion battery cells for electric cars in Jackson county, Georgia, northeast of Atlanta. The projected cost of the factory is $1.67 billion. The company says the factory will create more than 2,000 jobs once completed.
Construction of the first phase of the factory — which will cost $1 billion — will begin in early 2019 and provide 1,000 job opportunities for the local community. In a press release, the company said the new factory will be “the largest scale electric vehicle battery plant in the United States.” The folks at Tesla should find that statement interesting. Inside EVs speculates an investment of $167 billion should be enough to create a factory capable of producing 30 GWh of batteries annually.
Last month, Volkswagen indicated it is looking to SK Innovation to be a major supplier of battery cells for the electric cars it plans to manufacture in the United States. VW is known to be scouting locations for a US electric vehicle factory of its own. Whether the two companies are coordinating their search efforts so their factories can be close to each other is unknown.
Volkswagen’s head of procurement, Stefan Sommer, said earlier this year, “Within the framework of Roadmap E, the Volkswagen Group brands plan to bring 50 new full-electric models onto the roads by 2025. The Group needs battery capacity in excess of 150 GWh per year through 2025 just to equip its own electric fleet. That corresponds to an annual capacity of at least four “Gigafactories” for battery cells.” Roadmap E is VW’s plan to build up to 10 million electric vehicles using its new MEB modular chassis.
Volkswagen is hardly limiting itself to SK Innovation in its search for batteries, and SK Innovation is hardly limiting itself to Volkswagen in its search for customers. In its press statement about the new factory, it mentioned Mercedes and Hyundai/Kia as the leading candidates for the battery cells produced at the Georgia factory.
Jun Kim, CEO of SK Innovation, said in a statement, “We are excited to bolster our presence in the United States by making this investment in Georgia. SK Innovation is a worldwide leader in the energy industry and this latest investment will allow us to work with the growing automotive industry in the Southeastern United States, ensuring future partnerships for years to come.”