SK Innovation creates trickle-down effect in Georgia through its EV battery plants
2021.01.14

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SK Innovation’s large-scale investment in EV battery manufacturing plants in Georgia, USA, has created a trickle-down effect in downstream industries.

 

| SK Innovation’s Georgia EV plants will reach annual capacity of 21.5GWh by 2023

 

It was revealed that SK Innovation is going to start the pilot production of the first battery plant in Georgia, which has an annual capacity of 9.8GWh, in the first half of this year. In early 2023, the company’s second plant in Georgia is also expected to begin mass production. In total, the two plants in Georgia can reach annual production capacity of 21.5GWh, which can power approximately 430,000 EVs (assume that each EV’s battery capacity is 50kW).

 

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 ▲ SK Innovation’s first EV battery plant in Georgia (photos before completion)

 

Accordingly, partners of SK Innovation are advancing into the U.S. market one after another, laying the groundwork for joint growth. The State of Georgia is also welcoming the continued investment of EV-related industries after SK Innovation’s entry into the region.

 

It was reported that big EV makers such as Volkswagen are expanding their production facilities in Georgia. The State also revealed that at least seven companies, including SK Innovation, are making investments in Georgia. In addition, EV R&D is also actively underway, and Georgia has been making every effort to attract more investment by setting up a dedicated department to foster EV clusters in the region.

 

| Following SK Innovation, Korean companies are flocking into Georgia

 

Enchem, a Korean electrolyte manufacturer, is making fast moves with a factory with an annual production capacity of 20,000 tons in Georgia, USA. Enchem established a U.S. subsidiary in 2019 and began construction of the factory in early 2020. This plant has been operating since the beginning of this year, which implies Enchem’s localization is imminent. Since electrolyte is one of the four essential materials for battery manufacturing, Enchem is expected to generate full-fledged sales with the completion of the SK Innovation plant.

 

SK Innovation’s partner EcoPro BM, a cathode materials manufacturer, is also at Georgia now. The company established EcoPro BM America in November last year and is promoting its activities in Georgia.

 

Dongwon Tech, a Korean manufacturer and supplier of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts, also announced that it would invest $700,000 in Hall County, Georgia last year, to open a high-end HVAC duct manufacturing facility and sales office. According to the industry, Dongwon Tech is also a major partner of SK Innovation’s manufacturing plant in Georgia.

 

Dongwon Tech’s investment will create 40 jobs in the Gainesville area. Regarding this, Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp said, “We’re grateful for Dongwon Tech’s investment in the Peach State, and moving forward, we will continue to work with these innovative companies to bring jobs and opportunities to hardworking Georgians and their families in every corner of the state.”

 

Meanwhile, Korean battery equipment maker TopTech also revealed in July 2019 that it supplied equipment to SK Battery America, the U.S. subsidiary of SK Innovation’s Battery Business. Toyo Color, a Japanese company specialized in CNT (Carbon Nano Tube) solution, also completed a local factory in Georgia in September last year to supply CNT to SK Innovation.

 

Recently, even Korean auto-parts makers have announced their plans to enter Georgia. Interior automobile parts and accessories manufacturer JinTech decided to invest about 4.5 million USD to open an advanced manufacturing in West Point, Georgia, creating 70 jobs in Harris County. JinTech’s factory in the U.S. will provide a strong boost to the company’s growth, as it is a supplier to various global automakers.

 

In May last year, SK Innovation announced that it will actively promote win-win cooperation with domestic small and medium-sized plant partners at the company’s construction sites in the U.S., China, and Europe. The key of such cooperation is to expand overseas together, mainly with small and medium-sized domestic partners.

 

| SK Innovation aims to reach 100GWh annual capacity by 2025 with bold investments

 

SK Innovation has been making large-scale investments in the EV battery business, and it is reported that the company’s EV battery order backlog has exceeded 50 trillion KRW as orders have soared in the past 2 years. To supply this quantity, SK Innovation is actively expanding manufacturing facilities in the U.S., China, and Hungary.

 

SK Innovation’s annual EV battery production capacity, which was around 5GWh at the beginning of last year, has already exceeded 20GWh. Furthermore, It is expected to reach 85GWh in 2023 and 100GWh in 2025. Accordingly, SK Innovation’s battery-related suppliers are expected to receive orders till 2025 steadily.

 

 

Author | Yoon Jinsik
Industry Journalist