■ The Korean battery maker signed an MOU with South Chungcheong Province and Seosan City on the 16th to build its third facility in Seosan, expecting to stimulate local economy
■ When the construction is completed in 2025, SK On’s total domestic production capacity will reach 20GWh, representing a 100-fold increase in just 11 years
SK On will make a large-scale investment in its domestic production base in Seosan, South Korea, paving the way for the completion of a core infrastructure that will fortify Korea’s domestic electric vehicle battery industry.
On the 16th, SK On announced that it had signed the SK On Investment Agreement (MOU) with Seosan City and the provincial government of Hongseong-gun, South Chungcheong Province, South Korea. The signing ceremony was attended by Governor of South Chungcheong Province Kim Tae-Heum, Seosan City Mayor Lee Wan-seop, CEO of SK On Jee Dong-seob, and other key officials.
In accordance with the agreement, SK On will be expanding its third plant on a site covering approximately 44,125㎡ within the Seosan Auto Valley complex, located in Seosan City. The total investment amount is KRW 1.5 trillion, making it the company’s largest domestic investment.
South Chungcheong Province and Seosan City will be responsible for providing administrative and financial support such as authorization and permission.
After completing the expansion of the third plant by 2025, necessary tasks such as equipment replacement and process improvement will be undertaken. This will enable the third plant to achieve a maximum production capacity of up to 14GWh sequentially by 2028.
At that point, SK On’s total domestic annual production capacity will reach about 20GWh, which can power about 280,000 electric vehicles per year.
It is meaningful in that SK On has announced a large-scale investment plan to increase the total production volume by more than 100 times in just 11 years since its first production began at the Seosan plant.
After establishing a 200MWh (0.2GWh) mass production line at Seosan Plant 1 in 2012, SK On increased its production to about 5GWh in 2018 through gradual expansion.
The expansion this time will also make a meaningful contribution to the development of the local economy. The third plant is expected to bring new job opportunities to the local as Plant 1 and Plant 2 did, and to have a trickle-down effect on domestic battery equipment and suppliers of raw materials. A significant proportion of the investment in the third plant will be allocated to the procurement of battery equipment purchasing. Also, the scale of raw material procurement is poised to gradually escalate alongside the expansion of production volume.
SK On’s Seosan plant has played a pivotal role as a hub for cultivating the expertise essential to constructing a global battery production center and has functioned as a nurturing ground for training battery experts.
Since 2018, when SK On initiated its global expansion endeavors in earnest, it has successfully established a global mass production system with a collective capacity of 89GWh across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, in a mere span of five years.
SK On plans to implement a smart factory by introducing the latest facilities to the Seosan Plant 3 and optimize manufacturing operations. The aim is to increase production speed by more than 30% compared to the existing lines and further enhance process accuracy. In accordance with the expansion, the existing factory will also enhance productivity through activities such as line remodeling for process improvement.
SK On has been at the forefront of driving the development of the national electric vehicle battery infrastructure across diverse domains such as cell technology, raw materials, and R&D, a commitment underscored by the enlargement of the Seosan Plant 3.
In April this year, KRW 470 billion was channeled into the Daejeon Battery Research Institute, to expand research facilities dedicated to next-generation batteries. Earlier in March, a joint decision was reached to establish a precursor factory for crucial battery materials by investing KRW 1.2 trillion in collaboration with EcoPro Materials and GEM in the Saemangeum National Industrial Complex.
Governor Kim Tae-Heum remarked, “SK On is forging the path towards future energy via technological innovation.” He conveyed his optimism by stating, “We hold high hopes for the positive outcomes that lie ahead.”
Mayor Lee Wan-seop also emphasized, “We expect SK On’s large-scale investment to revitalize the local economy and develop the automobile industry.”
Echoing these sentiments, SK On CEO Jee Dong-seob said, “From the standpoint of bolstering the nation’s capacity for domestic battery production, this investment carries considerable significance.”
[Photo] Governor of South Chungcheong Province Kim Tae-Heum (right), Seosan City Mayor Lee Wan-seop (left), SK On CEO Jee Dong-seob (center) signed the SK On Investment Agreement (MOU) with Seosan City at the Provincial Office in Hongseong-gun, South Chungcheong Province, South Korea, on August 16 (local time).
[Reference] SK On Seosan Battery Production Plant History
|Timeline||Note||Accumulated production scale|
|2011||Construction of Plant 1 begins||–|
|2012||Operation of Plant 1 begins||0.2 GWh|
|2014||Expansion of Plant 1 completed (phase 1)||0.9 GWh|
|2016||Expansion of Plant 1 completed (phase 2)||1.1 GWh|
|2017||Expansion of Plant 1 (phase 3) completed
Construction of Plant 2 begins
|2018 (1H)||Operation of Plant 2 begins||3.9 GWh|
|2018 (2H)||Expansion of Plant 2 completed||5 GWh|
|2023||Construction of Plant 3 begins||5 GWh|
|2025 (-2028)||Operation of Plant 3 begins||20 GWh|