Korean firm SK Innovation estimates that a pair of factories on a common site in Commerce, Georgia, will build batteries for 300,000 electric cars annually once full capacity is reached.
On Monday the company announced the first hires for the Georgia site, saying it planned to create 1,000 jobs by 2021 and over 2,600 jobs by 2024.
The two stages of plant construction “would make Georgia one of the largest hubs of EV battery manufacturing in the world” and constitute “one of the largest economic projects in Georgia’s history,” an SK Innovation press release said.
SK Innovation said it recently completed the exterior of the first factory, and broke ground on the second factory, at the Commerce site, which is about 70 miles northeast of Atlanta. The first factory is scheduled to begin “initial operations” in 2021, and scale up to mass production in 2022, while the second factory will begin mass-producing batteries in 2023, the company said.
SK Innovation battery-factory construction in Commerce, Georgia
Construction and hiring are proceeding the midst of a legal dispute with rival Korean battery maker LG Chem, which has alleged trade-secret violations and reportedly is seeking to block the factories.
Volkswagen is depending on the two factories for battery supply for its Tennessee assembly of the ID.4 crossover and another electric model, starting in 2022. In documents related to the legal dispute with LG Chem, Ford indicated it would use SK Innovation battery cells from Georgia in its F-150 Electric pickup truck.
Kia currently uses SK Innovation cells in some of its products, including its Niro EV. These cells were the source of the dispute with LG Chem, which claimed that they were essentially “knockoffs” of its technology.
Hyundai—Kia’s parent company—recently announced a partnership with SK to look at the entire battery ecosystem—including leasing models for battery packs and second-life uses.