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SK Group launches EV charger business and ramps up US investment

Yusin Hu, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

SK Group, one of the conglomerates in South Korea, announced that it is investing an additional US$22 billion in semiconductors and the EV ecosystem in the US, according to the group's official news channel.

The group also launched its EV charger business unit SK Signet, formerly Signet EV, which was acquired by the group in 2021.

The group's new investment was announced in a virtual meeting with US president Joe Biden. US$15 billion of the ramp-up investment will be invested in semiconductors in the US.

Around US$5 billion will be allocated to build the EV ecosystem in the US. It adds to the group's previous investment of US$7 billion announced in April in constructing new EV battery gigafactories in Kentucky and Tennessee. Unlike the group's first factories in Georgia, the new factories will be under SK Group and Ford's joint venture, BlueOval SK.

SK Battery America (SKBA) currently runs the Georgia battery factories. Plant No. 1, with a capacity of 9.8 gigawatt-hours, has been in operation since the beginning of this year. Plant No. 2, with a capacity of 11.7 gigawatt-hours, is scheduled to start operation next year.

The Georgia project was an investment project of US$2.6 billion.

The five factories – two in Georgia, two in Kentucky, and one in Tennessee – will have a combined production capacity of over 150 GWh of batteries per year around 2025.

SK On's pre-IPO

The group's battery unit spun off from SK Innovation last year under the name SK On. The subsidiary has delayed its IPO to at least 2026 due to losses.

According to Reuters' reporting on July 21, SK On has been in talks with global private equity firms including Carlyle and BlackRock to raise about KRW4 trillion (US$3 billion) in a pre-IPO funding round.

SK On recently announced its plans to set up EV battery material production in North America, partnering with Ford and cathode material supplier EcoPro BM. Construction of the plant is expected to begin in the second half of 2023.

SK On has been supplying batteries made from EcoPro BM's cathode materials to power Ford's F-150, according to the company's official news channel SKinno News.

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