[Photo provided by SK Innovation Co.]
South Korean battery maker SK Innovation Co. has chosen Hungary as its first European production base to make batteries that would power electric vehicles.
The company said Thursday it held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new EV battery plant in the northwestern city of Komarom. It expects the Hungary plant to serve as a strategic foothold in advancing into the European market.
It plans to inject over 840.2 billion won ($786.9 million) until 2022 in the project. The new plant would be capable of producing 7.4 gigawatt hours worth of battery packs annually, about twice the capacity of its plant in Seosan, Korea.
The plant would produce third-generation EV battery cells for electric cars capable of achieving 500 kilometers on a single charge.
“This European plant marks a pivotal moment in our decade-long push into EV batteries,” said Chey Jae-won, executive vice chairman of SK Group and younger brother of Chairman Chey Tae-won, at the ceremony. “We hope this would pave the way for SK’s efforts to power electric vehicles across the world.”
SK Innovation said that after weighing several other options in Eastern Europe, it settled on Komarom, a city 96 kilometers northwest of the capital Budapest, for its attractive location and business potential. The plant would be built on a 430,000 square-meter site, enough to fill about 60 soccer fields.
The company became the first battery maker in the world to start mass producing mid- and large-sized pouch-type NCM 811 batteries in September.
SK Innovation shares closed Friday up 0.99 percent at 204,500 won.
By Kang Doo-soon and Kim Hyo-jin
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