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SK Innovation to build new US$1.67 bln EV plant in Georgia

SK Innovation’s factory will have an annual capacity of 10 GWh

South Korean manufacturer SK Innovation celebrates leading the way for electric vehicles in the US as it invests US$1.67 billion to open its first US-based EV battery plant in Georgia.

The kick off for the construction of the factory, which is set to start mass production of batteries for US carmakers in 2022, was celebrated on March 19 in the presence of Governor Brian Kemp and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

Construction of the plant, which is located 65 miles northeast of Atlanta Jackson County, will be conducted in two phases, firstly producing a factory with an annual capacity of 10 GWh, expected to be completed in 2021. This allows the factory to start production of battery cells for the Volkswagen Group, which is seeking to start producing an electric SUV at the Chattanooga plant from 2022.

The second phase will then allow the production capacity to double to 20 GWh by 2025, and depending on the future order volume from global automakers based in the US, could be maximised to 50 GWh.

Although the 2018 sale figures of EVs rose by 81% from 2017, other reports show this figure could decrease again. As the real-time demand for plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles within the country is still unclear, the South Korean firm is taking a risk bringing its business to the US.

SK Innovation’s factory in Jacksonville will signify an expansion across four countries, including Hungary, China and home-base South Korea, where it has the capacity to produce 4.7 GWh in EV batteries annually. By 2022, following the completion of the first phase, the firm’s production capacity for EV batteries will increase to 60 GWh.

Aside from being Georgia’s largest single foreign investment, this project further stands out as it signifies the largest economic development win within “the Empire State of the South” in 10 years, both by the jobs it will create, an expected 2,000 by 2025; and the total investment involved.

By 2022, upon completion of plants in Hungary, China and the US, SK Innovation’s annual – more than six times its current capacity.

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