SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Korea Bizwire) — SK Innovation Co., a South Korean energy-to-construction conglomerate, said Wednesday that it is considering building electric vehicle battery plants in the United States and Europe to meet growing demand for zero-emissions cars.
SK Innovation said up to four unidentified areas have been shortlisted for its first plant in the U.S. and said it is also reviewing sites for a new plant in Europe, including Hungary.
The announcement came as SK Innovation has signed a deal with Volkswagen to supply electric vehicle batteries.
The company will supply batteries to be produced in the U.S. and Europe to the German carmaker, though it said the number and prices of the electric power units to be supplied are fluid.
In March, SK Innovation broke ground on an 840 billion-won (US$740 million) electric vehicle battery plant in the northwestern Hungarian city of Komarom and the plant is set to be completed by the second half of next year.
Batteries to be produced in the new facility in Hungary could enable a car to travel 500 kilometers — the distance between New York City and Plattsburgh — on a single charge, according to the company.
By 2020, SK Innovation’s annual car battery capacity will rise to about 20 gigawatt hours, an amount that can be used to equip 670,000 electric vehicles, it said.
Currently, SK Innovation supplies batteries to South Korea’s largest carmaker, Hyundai Motor Co., and its smaller affiliate, Kia Motors Corp.
SK Innovation is South Korea’s top oil refiner, but it has been moving into the electric vehicle battery business since 2008 as part of efforts to find new revenue sources.