Hyundai's Chung visits SK as chaebol head tour continues

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Hyundai's Chung visits SK as chaebol head tour continues

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, left, and Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung shake hands at SK Innovation's battery factory in Seosan, South Chungcheong, on Tuesday. [SK GROUP]

SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, left, and Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung shake hands at SK Innovation's battery factory in Seosan, South Chungcheong, on Tuesday. [SK GROUP]

 
The heads of Hyundai Motor Group and SK discussed the possibility of forging a partnership on Tuesday in the latest in a string of high-profile meetings between chaebol heads discussing the supply of advanced batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).
 
Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung paid a visit to SK Innovation’s factory in Seosan, South Chungcheong, and met SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won.
 
Their discussion focused on next-generation EV battery technologies and how the two units could cooperate in the sector, according to a joint statement.
 
“The two companies' executives including Chung and Chey talked about technologies used for ensuring high energy density, lithium metal battery and high-speed charging as well as power semiconductors and establishing a platform to rent and exchange EV batteries,” the statement said.  
 
Lithium metal batteries are considered a lighter option compared to standard lithium ion ones, a critical advantage that leads to longer drive ranges for EVs, although the battery type has stability issues with its ability to hold a charge.
 
Another area of discussion was the potential use of SK’s gas station network to provide charging infrastructure for EVs and hydrogen-powered cars. 

 
SK Innovation currently supplies battery packs for the Kia Niro plug-in hybrid, Kia Soul EV and Hyundai Ioniq plug-in hybrid vehicles.  
 
The battery maker is also set to produce batteries when Hyundai Motor starts to deploy its Electric-Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP, the company’s self-developed EV car platform, next year.
 
Chung assessed the gathering as meaningful as the car maker is on the lookout for partnerships in the new mobility era that demands higher technological prowess.
 
“The meeting was meaningful because it allowed for discussions concerning future batteries and the direction of new technologies,” Chung said in the statement.
 
Chey echoed the cheerful tone, saying that the potential cooperation could contribute to improving the Korean economy reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  
 
“As Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors demonstrate a stronger presence in the EV sector and future mobility area, the cooperation could breathe a new life not only into the companies but the domestic economy,” he said.
 
The encounter marks the third highly-publicized meeting among Korea’s major conglomerates, starting with Chung’s meeting with Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong two months ago to explore the possibility of using Samsung SDI’s all-solid-state batteries once the technology is fully developed in the future.

 
Then, Chung went on to visit LG Chem’s EV battery plant in Cheongju, North Chungcheong, last month, having a discussion with LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo about a new battery partnership.
 
BY PARK EUN-JEE   [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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