SK Innovation, Ford Motor ink EV battery joint venture in N America

SK Innovation EV business

SK Innovation and Ford Motor announced they will form a battery joint venture in North America to support the No. 2 U.S. automaker’s electric vehicle rollout.

The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding for the formation of the venture, called BlueOvalSK.

Ford said details of the venture’s ownership structure will be set in the finalized agreement, expected later this summer.

The partnership aims to produce about 60 gigawatt-hours (GWh) annually in traction battery cells and array modules, starting mid-decade, with potential to expand.

That target would equal two jointly owned plants, the locations for which have not been identified, Ford North American Chief Operating Officer Lisa Drake said on a call with reporters.

Ford’s EV plan calls for at least 240 GWh of battery cell capacity by 2030, equal to about 10 plants, said Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer, Hau Thai-Tang. Some 140 GWh of that will be required in North America, with the balance in other regions, including Europe and China.

“This is to support the delivery of our winning BEV programs coming online now with Mach-E, E-Transit and the F-150 Lightning, but this is just the start,” Thai-Tang said.

SK Innovation’s head of battery marketing division, Yoosuk Kim, said the company plans to make batteries for other vehicle programs across various U.S. locations in the future.

Last month SK Innovation agreed to pay $1.8 billion to LG Energy Solution, a subsidiary of LG Chem, to settle LG’s accusations of trade theft by its rival.