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SK Innovation breaks ground for Hungary’s battery plant

South Korea‘s leading energy and chemicals firm SK Innovation said Friday that it has held a ground breaking ceremony for an 40 billion-won ($784 million) electric vehicle battery plant in Hungary as part of its expansion of production capacity on growing demand.

The plant is SK Innovation’s first exclusive factory to be built in Europe, in the hopes of playing an important role in the company’s advancements into the European market where most major global automakers are based.

The plant will be at a size of about 60 football pitches, according to the company officials, located in the northwestern Hungarian city of Kmarom.

The construction is slated to be completed by the second half of next year.

SK Innovation CEO Kim Jun (right) talks with officials from global car companies during a groundbreaking ceremony for the firm’s plant in Hungary on Thursday. (SK Innovation)
SK Innovation CEO Kim Jun (right) talks with officials from global car companies during a groundbreaking ceremony for the firm’s plant in Hungary on Thursday. (SK Innovation)

Major automakers also operate assembly lines in Komarom, including German carmaker Audi.

With the plant, all production lines will begin in earnest in 2022, capable of producing electric vehicle cells with a combined 7.5 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, the officials said.

Batteries from the Hungarian plant will be those that can have a car travel 500 kilometers on a single charge, they explained. Batteries produced in Hungary are set to be delivered to Daimler.

“The goal is to provide SK batteries to electric vehicles around the world in the near future,” SK Group Vice Chairman Chey Jae-won said in a groundbreaking ceremony. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto also attended the event participated by some 300 officials and guests.

Major clients of SK Innovation‘s battery business include South Korea’s largest carmaker Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors.

SK Innovation CEO and President Kim Jun said, “Through this ground breaking ceremony, SK Innovation has earned stronger confidence of global carmakers toward its batter business and will be a meaningful step for business expansion.”

SK Innovation is Korea‘s largest oil refiner in revenue, and has been eyeing the electric vehicle battery business since 2008 as part of the new growth sources on the back of a rising trend of automakers taking up electric vehicles.

By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)
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