SK Innovation Co., the battery arm of SK Group, is expanding its battery production facility to meet the future demands as the amount of orders for electric vehicle (EV) battery cells at home and abroad is continuously increasing.
SK Innovation announced on November 14 that it has decided to establish a second battery production facility with a production capacity of 3 gigawatt-hours (GWh) a year at its Seosan complex in South Chungcheong Province. The current plant has a production capacity of 1 GWh which is equivalent to cover batteries for 40,000 EVs a year.
The second production facility will have a total floor space of 40,000 square meters, an area larger than 4 soccer fields combined. It is about the same size as the first facility. However, the new plant will have three times higher production capacity than the current one by dramatically improving the productivity of equipment and making better use of a space based on its technical skills and expertise.
SK Innovation plans to complete the construction of the second plant by the first half of 2018 and set up the battery production lines with 800 megawatt-hours (MWh) a year, which is equivalent to cover batteries for 30,000 EVs, first. Once the construction of the second facility and the first production line is completed, the company can produce battery cells for 70,000 EVs a year.
Products from the new line will be supplied to Mercedes-Benz (Daimler).
SK Innovation signed a contract with Daimler Group in February to provide lithium ion batteries to Mercedes Benz EVs to be launched next year.
An official from SK Innovation said, “The first facility will start mass producing batteries to be used in the 2017 Mercedes Benz EVs first and the second production line will produce them as well from 2018 when the demand is on increase.”
SK Innovation, which supplied batteries to about 20,000 EVs from automakers at home and abroad last year, currently supplies batteries to the Kia Soul EV and the Beijing Auto Senova EV200 and ES210 EVs.