South Korean company aims to catch up with rival LG in $11.4bn investment tie-up

SK and peers are setting their sights on the U.S. as steps by President Joe Biden’s administration to combat climate change promise to push forward electrification, creating unique opportunities in one of the world’s biggest markets.

SK Group and Ford Motor will build new battery factories in the U.S., the companies announced Tuesday. Battery maker SK Innovation will work with Ford to open production sites in the states of Kentucky and Tennessee at a total cost of 11.4 billion, with SK investing $4.45 billion.

LG is currently the world’s no. 2 largest battery company by capacity last year. SK is the world’s no. 6 with 30 gigawatt-hours spread across facilities in South Korea, China and Hungary. SK will have to contend with three powerful rivals: China’s CATL, LG and Japan’s Panasonic. Tesla has partnered with CATL in China and with Panasonic in the U.S. Honda Motor has invested in CATL.

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Artist’s rendering of a battery plant in the U.S. state of Kentucky by SK Innovation and Ford (Reuters).

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