Facts: South Korean battery makers worth $13 billion to win US market

Kamala Harris, US Vice President, speaks with SemaConnect CEO Mahi Reddy at the Brandywine maintenance facility in Prince George’s County during a visit to announce the Biden-Harris Administration’s Electric Vehicle Charging Action Plan, in Brandywine, Maryland, US, December 13, 2021. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarck / FILE PHOTO

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SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean battery makers have ramped up their investment ambitions in the United States and cumulative spending announcements since 2018 now total about $13 billion. This year alone, plans worth $5.5 billion have been reported.

Driven by the incentives that come as the Biden administration pushes to shift more of the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain to the United States and away from China, their plant plans now cover seven states. Read more

Industry reveals

Plans require LG Energy Solution (LGES) (373220.KS), SK On and Samsung SDI Co Ltd (006400.KS) an additional 320 gigawatt-hours (GWh) to be built over the next few years — or enough additional output to supply 4 million electric vehicles equivalent to the Tesla Model 3.

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This is a big bet that electric cars are about to rise in popularity in the United States. Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles made up only about 5% of the US car market last year.

Together, LGES and SK On currently have installed US capacity of about 15 gigawatt-hours per year, with plants in Michigan and Georgia respectively. That compares with 39 gigawatt-hours for Japan’s Panasonic Holdings Corp. (6752.T), which supplies battery cells to Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) from the automaker’s Gigafactory in Nevada.

Panasonic is expected to announce a new plant to meet the growing demand from Tesla. Read more The sources also said China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. (Catel) (300750.SZ), the world’s largest global battery supplier, is in the final stages of examining factory sites in the United States. Read more

LG

LGES has captured the largest share of the US battery market among South Korean suppliers, and has announced investments of more than $5.5 billion since 2019, aiming to manufacture about 160 GWh of batteries per year by 2025.

It is building three plants with General Motors (GM.N) in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan, an independent plant in Arizona and will expand an existing plant in Michigan.

It is also planning a project with Stellantis NV (STLA.MI) in Canada, which is scheduled to have an annual production capacity of 45 GWh by 2026. Read more

Its customers include Tesla, General Motors and Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE).

SK ON

SK Innovation Co Ltd (096770.KS) has announced an investment of approximately $6.3 billion since 2018 to build two separate plants in Georgia and three plants with Ford in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Overall, it aims to have a capacity of more than 150 GWh in the country.

Its clients include Ford Motor Co (FN), Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS), and Volkswagen.

SK On is also expected to participate in Hyundai Motor Group’s plans, which includes Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp (000270.KS), to invest $5.5 billion in Georgia to build electrical and battery facilities. A source had previously told Reuters that SK On will supply the Hyundai Ioniq 7 battery that will be built there. Read more

SAMSUNG SDI

The subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) 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 grow to $1.6 billion. Read more

The project 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 customers include BMW (BMWG.DE), Ford and Volkswagen.

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Additional reporting by Hekyung Yang in Seoul and Tim Kelly in Tokyo; Editing by Myung Kim, Kevin Krollecki and Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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