Ford partners with SK Innovation for its $22 billion electrification drive


US auto major Ford Motor Company has partnered with South Korean battery manufacturer SK Innovation to set an electric vehicle battery joint venture, which is expected to play a key role in Ford’s planned $22 billion electrification drive that is scheduled to take place by 2025.

(Also Read: Ford unveils F-150 Lightning, its first electric pickup truck)

Ford and SK Innovation’s EV battery joint venture announcement is coming immediately after the launch of Ford’s latest electric vehicle F-150 Lightning pickup truck, which is the all-electric version of the brand’s most popular offering in the North American market, the Ford F-Series.

The automaker currently also sells all-electric Mustang Mach-E, an all-electric performance coupe SUV based on the iconic Ford Mustang. Ford is also set to bring an all-electric variant of the Transit van. So far, the auto giant is pushing to electrify all its major vehicles.

For this electrification strategy, the joint venture with SK Innovation will play an important role to develop and supply the Ev batteries. Under this JV, the two company will jointly own a plant that will manufacture battery cells for use in rechargeable EV batteries.

Discussions around the joint venture picked up last month after SK Innovation agreed to pay $1.8 billion to LG Energy Solution, a wholly-owned subsidiary of LG Chem Ltd, to settle LG’s accusations of trade theft by its SK Innovation.

The joint venture is further fuelled by Joe Biden Administration’s push for electric mobility. On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden called for government grants for new battery production facilities as part of the US government’s $174 billion EV proposal.

SK Innovation is expected to complete the construction of its Georgia plant by late 2021. It is also building a second facility next door that is expected to start battery production in 2023. Overall, SK Innovation has invested $2.6 billion in Georgia.

SK Innovation aims to ramp up its annual battery production capacity to about 125 GWh of batteries in 2025, which can power about 1.8 million electric vehicles. In such a scenario, a deal with SK may put Ford on a similar path as its rival General Motors Co, which has a battery joint venture with LG Energy.