SK On to jointly invest in cathode material production facility with Ford and EcoPro BM
2022.07.22 | SKinno News

On July 22 (KST), SK On announced its plans to jointly invest in establishing a cathode material production facility in North America in partnership with global automaker Ford Motor Company and cathode material manufacturer EcoPro BM. The cathode is an essential battery material that crucially affects battery performance.


The three companies recently signed a non-binding letter of intent (“LOI”) for the joint investment. The three companies plan to sign the binding contract within this year, and to start the construction of the new plant in the second half of next year. The investment amount and share ratio, as well as the location of the plant, are currently under discussion.


The cathode materials to be produced by said plant will be supplied to BlueOval SK, a battery production plant which was established recently as a joint venture between SK On and Ford.


By establishing a value chain which encompasses materials, parts, and finished products, the three companies are working to create a solid supply chain, securing price competitiveness and further strengthening their partnership.


The three companies have already been collaborating through their core products. EcoPro BM supplies SK On with powerful high-nickel cathode materials. SK On has developed the world’s first NCM9 batteries based on its safety technology and manufacturing capabilities, supplying them for the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck. The vehicle has been gaining popularity among consumers since its release in spring this year.


This cooperation has enabled a stable securement of high-performance cathode materials, which are essential materials for batteries, for SK On, as it is rapidly expanding its production base in North America. Furthermore, it has moved SK On a step closer to its strategic goal of material localization, encompassing both the production and the local securement of raw materials, beyond just battery production within the local area.


SK On continues to invest in the North American market, which is considered to be one of the world’s top three automotive markets along with Europe and China. It has invested a total of 3 trillion won in order to secure two EV battery plants in Georgia. Plant No. 1 with a capacity of 9.8 gigawatt-hours has been in operation since the beginning of this year, and Plant No. 2 with a capacity of 11.7 gigawatt-hours is scheduled to be in operation next year.


SK On plans to launch the BlueOval SK joint venture with Ford, sequentially commencing operation of production plants in Tennessee and Kentucky with a total of 129 gigawatt-hours production capacity from 2025 to 2026.


Kim Yong-jik, Head of Battery Procurement Office at SK On, said, “SK On will strengthen the supply chain of key battery materials to produce more competitive batteries, and lead the global EV market.”


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