SK Innovation, a unit of SK Group, is a small fish in a sea of Asian battery suppliers like Panasonic, Samsung and LG, but its automotive customer base is growing, and it is rapidly ramping up production.
Since the Korean firm opened its battery plant in Seosan in 2012, it has been enlarging its production lines every year. Annual production capacity at the plant, which handles production stages from electrode manufacturing to cell assembly, activation and packaging, is now 700 megawatt-hoursÂ (viaÂ Korea Herald)Â â€“ enough to power about 30,000 EVs.
SKâ€™s batteries are used in several vehicles by major automakers, including Kiaâ€™s Soul EV and BAICâ€™s EV200 and ES210. The company recently sealed a deal with a European automaker to supply batteries for its EVs starting in 2016. The supply volume will be nearly â€œthree times largerâ€ than SKâ€™s current output, CEO Chung Chul-khil told reporters in May.
â€œWe will focus on developing next-generation lithium-ion battery cells with higher energy capacity and concentration, perceived as holding great growth potential,â€ said Kim Yoo-suk Kim, VP of SK Innovationâ€™s battery business. â€œDemand for such batteries is expected to rise in line with an increase in global EV usage across the world over the next few years. Though currently supply exceeds demands in the status quo, this situation will turn around by 2018.â€