Ford and SK Innovation to extend their battery JV into Europe
American automobile giant Ford Motor Company and its partner SK Innovation have announced their plans to extend their battery joint venture (JV) in Europe. Hau Thai-Tang, chief product platform and operations officer for Ford, told reporters that the two partners decided to extend their battery JV extend beyond North America.
Ford already ordered SK Innovation batteries for the upcoming Ford F-150 Lightning. Those cells will be produced at SK's battery plants in Commerce, Georgia. The automobile giant’s plans to take its strategic partnership with SK Innovation to Europe will most probably bring about a battery gigafactory in Europe.
As mentioned above, Ford and SK Innovation are already partners, with the former getting batteries from the later for the upcoming Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck. The battery cells are being produced at SK Innovation’s battery plants in Commerce area of the U.S. state of Georgia.
The two companies have also decided to set up a battery JV, called the BlueOval SK battery, in the U.S. It will likely produce 60 GWh of battery cells and modules per annum starting in or around 2025. Speaking at a J.P. Morgan conference, Thai-Tang said that they were excited to extend their partnership into Europe.
Speaking on the topic, the senior executive said, “We’re very excited about this joint venture and it's going to be beyond just North America. It will certainly extend into Europe.”
With rise in demand for EVs amid consumers’ shift from conventional internal combustion engines (ICEs) to electric powertrains, Ford wants to leave no stone unturned to ensure uninterrupted supply of batteries for its electrified vehicles. The carmaker’s global battery demand is expected to jump to more than 240 GWh by the end of current decade, including up to 140 GWh in U.S.
On the other hand, SK Innovation is eager to ink such partnerships as it aims to become the top EV battery manufacturer in terms of volume. It aims to achieve a capacity of more than 500 GWh per annum by 2030, significantly up from its current capacity of just around 40 GWh per annum.
Like any other major manufacturer in the world, Ford is accelerating the pace of its shift from ICEs to BEVs as governments around the globe are encouraging consumers to go electric to help reduce carbon emissions to prevent global warming and protect public health.