SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Korea Bizwire) – SK Innovation Co., a major energy and chemical company in South Korea, said Thursday that it has built its first electric vehicle (EV) battery cell manufacturing plant in China in the latest move to tap deeper into the world’s largest EV market.
The completion ceremony for BEST — a joint venture established by SK Innovation, Beijing Automotive Group and Beijing Electronics — in Changzhou in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu drew more than 500 guests, including the companies’ executives.
BEST is SK Innovation’s first EV battery cell manufacturing plant outside South Korea. Its annual production capacity is 7.5 gigawatt hours (Gwh), which is enough to supply batteries for 150,000 EVs.
The Chinese facility will produce EV batteries powered by nickel-cobalt-manganese cathodes, with supplies expected to start in early 2020, according to SK Innovation.
The latest plant will boost SK Innovation’s overall EV battery production capacity to 12.2 Gwh, as it has a 4.7-Gwh battery plant currently operating in South Korea.
The company is also expecting to complete a 7.5-Gwh battery plant in Hungary in the near future.
SK Innovation invested 1 billion yuan in 2013 to set up an EV battery joint venture named BESK with Beijing Automotive Group and Beijing Electronics to tap deeper into the world’s largest EV market.
BEST is BESK’s wholly owned subsidiary.
SK Innovation owns a 49 percent stake in BEST, with the rest held by Beijing Automotive Group and Beijing Electronics.