South Korea has a 40.6 trillion won ($41.2 billion) plan to become an even bigger EV battery giant by the end of the decade, The Business Times has reported. The nation unveiled the plan and noted that LG Energy Solution, SK Innovation, and Samsung SDI will be key players. (They are already three of the biggest EV battery manufacturers in the world.) The companies will drive investment in research and development and also battery production.
South Korea accounted for a third of the global market in batteries for EVs in the first 5 months of this year. Each of the companies is expanding and adding facilities overseas in order to meet the growing demand for EVs abroad. Combined, their production capacities almost quadrupled to 217 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in 2020 from 59 GWh in 2016, the government stated.
Chinas’ Contemporary Amperex Technology, Limited (CATL) accounted for another 31% of EV battery sales this year through May, SNE Research pointed out. The firm expects the global battery market to grow to around $352 billion (US) in 2030, from $46 billion last year.
In a statement, LG Energy said that it has plans to invest 15.1 trillion won ($13.14 billion) by 2030, including 9.7 trillion won ($8.44 billion) into R&D. The company will build an institute in South Korea that will provide battery technology training. The expected completion for the facility is January 2023. LG Energy also stated that it has an EV order book worth over 180 trillion won ($156.67 billion).
The South Korean government, LG Energy, SK Innovation, and Samsung SDI will each contribute to the investment fund. South Korea is planning to develop a used-battery industry as well. President Moon Jae-in’s administration pledged to support the companies developing next-generation products and these include solid-state batteries The administration has an 80 billion won ($69.64 million) fund that will help smaller and medium-sized firms strengthen their ability to provide battery-making materials and components.
For those who still think that there is no demand for EVs, it’s important to take note that South Korea is seeing the demand and taking it seriously. The Korea Herald reported that three of the nation’s EV battery makers accounted for a third of the global market during the first five months of this year. The sales of EV batteries rose in line with solid demand for EVs from major automakers.
In a report, SNE Research said, “The Korean battery trio, which posted a strong performance last year, is losing its share to Chinese manufacturers this year.” It added, “The global competition is expected to intensify as the Chinese market keeps growing and Chinese battery manufactures are expanding their presence in the European market.”