Hyundai to announce a stacked EV battery factory in the US during Biden's Korea visit
Hyundai will be entering a battery joint venture with SK On, reports Korean media, that will aim to build Hyundai's own battery factory in America, most likely situated in Georgia or Alabama. SK On already has battery projects in the US as Ford's strategic EV partner, but the new plant will be exclusive for Hyundai electric vehicles on its proprietary e-GMP platform like the Ioniq 5 or the upcoming Ioniq 6.
The South Korean battery manufacturers like SK, Samsung, or LG, are raking in record profits on multiple order partners and have vowed to catch up to the Chinese behemoths. Samsung and SK On, in particular, are using an advanced stacked battery technology, while LG, the other Hyundai battery supplier, was just recently forced by the automaker to adopt it.
LG Energy Solutions emphasized that the existing lamination & stacking (L&S) method should be used as it is. Z-stacking and lamination & stacking refer to the method of stacking battery materials such as positive electrode, negative electrode, and separator. Z-stacking is known to have higher stability but lower productivity than lamination & stacking. This method is mainly used by SK On and Samsung SDI.
Hyundai had to recall a number of electric Konas for fire hazard last year and, while no exact reason was found, LG's capricious L&S battery production process was a prime suspect, hence Hyundai's insistence on adopting SK On's Z-stacked method across its EV portfolio. President Biden will be visiting South Korea on May 21 and will be meeting with the CEOs of the Samsung, SK, Hyundai Motor, and LG conglomerates to discuss his administration's sustainable transportation push. That's when the joint venture between Hyundai and SK over a dedicated battery plant in the US is expected to be unveiled.