SEOUL – South Korean battery makers have raised their U.S. investment ambitions and rising spending announcements since 2018 to a total of $ 13 billion. This year alone, plans worth $ 5.5 billion have been flagged.
Inspired by the Biden administration’s pressure to move the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain to the United States and away from China, their plans for the factory now span seven states.
An art revs up
Plans by LG Energy Solution (LGES), SK On and Samsung SDI Co Ltd call for an additional 320 gigawatt hours (GWh) of power to be produced in the next few years – or enough additional output to supply 4 million EVs equivalent to Tesla. Model 3.
It is a huge bet that electric vehicles are going to increase their popularity in the United States EV and plug-in hybrids accounted for about 5% of the U.S. auto market last year.
LGES and SK On together have installed US capacity of about 15 gigawatt-hours per year, including plants in Michigan and Georgia, respectively. This compares to 39 GWh for Japan’s Panasonic Holdings Corporation, which supplies battery cells to Tesla Inc. from the automaker’s Gigafactory in Nevada.
Panasonic Tesla is expected to announce a new plant to meet growing demand. Sources further said that China’s contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL), the world’s top global battery supplier, is in the final stages of testing sites for plants in the United States.
Leading the largest share of the U.S. battery market among South Korean suppliers, LGES has announced an investment of more than 5 5.5 billion since 2019, with the goal of producing approximately 160 GWh of batteries per year by 2025.
It is building three plants with General Motors in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan, will expand to a separate plant in Arizona and an existing plant in Michigan.
It is also planning an initiative with Stellantis NV of Canada, which will have an annual production capacity of 45 GWh by 2026.
Its clients include Tesla, GM and Volkswagen.
SK Innovation Company Limited Unit has announced an investment of about $ 6.3 billion since 2018 to build two separate factories in Georgia and three plants with Ford in Tennessee and Kentucky.
After all, it aims to achieve a capacity of over 150 gigawatts in the country.
Its clients include Ford Motor Company, Hyundai Motor Company and Volkswagen.
Hyundai Motor Group is expected to involve SK On in its plans, which include Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp, to invest $ 5.5 billion to build EV and battery facilities in Georgia. SK On will supply batteries for Hyundai’s Ioniq 7 that will be built there, a source told Reuters earlier.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has teamed up with Stellantis to invest up to $ 3.1 billion in a battery plant in Indiana. Samsung SDI’s share of the investment is $ 1.3 billion although it could be $ 1.6 billion.
The venture aims to start production in 2025 with an initial annual production capacity of 23 GWh, which will rise to 33 GWh in the next few years.
Samsung SDI’s clients include BMW, Ford and Volkswagen.