Ford and SK Innovation set up a joint venture to manufacture batteries

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BlueOvalSK is to produce nickel-9 batteries for the Ford F-150 Lightning

Ford and SK Innovation set up a joint venture to manufacture batteries-joint

Ford and the Korean battery manufacturer SK Innovation (SKI) have signed a letter of intent to set up a joint venture called BlueOvalSK. The new company is expected to produce traction battery cells with a capacity of 60 GWh annually from the middle of the decade – with the prospect of more.

By 2030, Ford expects an annual energy requirement for its vehicles of up to 140 GWh per year in North America and up to 240 GWh worldwide – exactly as much as the VW Group. While VW wants to have its 240 GWh produced in six factories, Ford is thinking of around ten factories. That means that in the end there will be around 14 plants in the USA and ten in Europe and Asia.

"We will not leave our future to others." (Ford boss Jim Farley)

To ensure the battery supply, Ford works with various suppliers. Ford doesn’t want to let the spoon be taken out of his hand. Instead of simply hiring battery manufacturers to produce battery packs, you set up a joint venture and have more influence and insight: "This declaration of intent is just the beginning. It’s an integral part of our plan, vertically, important functions that differentiate Ford far into the future to integrate, "said Jim Farley, President and CEO of Ford." We will not leave our future to others. "

SKI developed "the world’s first nickel-9 battery," which "is mass-produced in the USA and powers Ford’s F-150 Lightning."

SKI specializes in NCM (Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese) batteries with a high nickel content. In 2016, SKI developed the world’s first NCM-811 battery, which has been in series production since 2018. In addition, the company claims to have developed "the world’s first nickel-9 battery", ie a battery with a nickel content of around 90 percent. This should also be used in the F-150 Lightning, as Ford explains.

SKI already has a battery factory (approx. 10 GWh) in Georgia, which is scheduled to start series production at the end of 2021 and will then supply two car manufacturers (probably VW and Ford). The second factory (approx. 12 GWh) is currently being built and is scheduled to go into series production in 2023. The batteries built there then come in the F-150 Lightning for use, so Ford and SKI.

In Europe, SKI plans to build a 30 GWh plant in Hungary soon. In 2020, SKI produced around 6 GWh and thus landed in sixth place. According to SKI, 40 GWh should be produced in 2021. By 2025, the company aims to become one of the top three providers of e-car batteries, with a global production capacity of 125 GWh. Together with the 60 GWh from BlueOvalSK, it will be around 190 GWh.

Ford plans to invest at least $ 22 billion in electric mobility by 2025. The brand started electrifying its most popular models and will soon have three electric cars on the market: the Mustang Mach-E, the E-Transit and the F-150 Lightning. In the future, Ford wants to focus on that Transition to solid state batteries (SSB) that promise greater range, lower costs and safer electric vehicles. Ford announced at the beginning of May, that the investment in the solid-state battery specialist Solid Power is increased, in which BMW is also involved.

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