Hyundai Motor, SK Innovation explore battery options
Hyundai Motor and SK Innovation will expand their partnership in electric vehicles (EVs) by exploring what's called the Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS) concept.
BaaS, a concept similar to the Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) idea utilized by car-sharing platforms like Uber, refers to managing various aspects of a battery's life cycle as demand for EVs increases.
The two companies said Tuesday that they signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate in the field.
The cooperation will involve selling batteries as well as leasing or renting them, managing the batteries through their life cycles and recycling or reusing them.
“Unlike previous partnerships in which battery makers only supplied batteries to mobility companies, this aims to achieve BaaS, which will allow more varied partnerships between mobility and battery industries,” Hyundai Motor said in a release.
SK Innovation’s batteries in Kia Motors’ Niro EV will be the first in the project.
The companies will work on recycling batteries from EVs to be used as energy storage systems (ESS) and extracting metals from used batteries such as lithium, nickel and cobalt.
“The latest collaboration with SK Innovation, which is in charge of the first batch of batteries that will be used in EVs manufactured on the E-GMP platform, planned for operation from 2021, signals an important step toward further partnerships between battery and mobility industries,” said Chi Young-cho, president of Hyundai Motor in charge of the strategy and technology division.
Jee Dong-seob, CEO of SK Innovation's battery business, said the two companies will come up with new business opportunities throughout the life cycles of EV batteries that will contribute to the government's Green New Deal project.
Hyundai Motor Group and SK Innovation have already been collaborating in the EV battery business. The battery maker has been supplying lithium-ion batteries for Kia Motors' all-electric and plug-in hybrid models such as Niro and Soul.
SK Innovation rival LG Chem supplies its batteries for Hyundai Motor's eco-friendly models.
Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung has been active in expanding its partnerships with domestic battery makers this year.
In the first half of this year, Chung made a visit to manufacturing plants of all three battery makers — LG Chem, SK Innovation and Samsung SDI — to be briefed about each company's core technologies and met with their chiefs.
Samsung SDI doesn't currently supply batteries to Hyundai Motor. But the meeting between Chung and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong provoked speculation that an official partnership is near.
SK Innovation will supply the first batch of batteries for EVs assembled on the E-GMP platform from next year. LG Chem is in charge of the second batch. Suppliers for the third and fourth batches haven't been decided.
BY JIN EUN-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]