SK Inc. makes investment in Singapore battery company

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SK Inc. makes investment in Singapore battery company

A researcher at SolidEnergy Systems holds foil used for lithium metal batteries. [SK INC.]

A researcher at SolidEnergy Systems holds foil used for lithium metal batteries. [SK INC.]

 
SK Inc. has become the third largest shareholder of SolidEnergy Systems (SES), a Singapore-based electric vehicle (EV) battery maker, after investing 40 billion won ($35.7 million) on top of the previous 30 billion won.  
 
The funding, announced on Tuesday, is the latest in a string of moves aimed at accelerating its focus on EV-related products.  
 
SK Inc. didn’t disclose its stake, only mentioning it is now the third largest stakeholder after Singapore’s Temasek and company founder and CEO Qichao Hu.  
 
The spin-out from MIT specializes in producing rechargeable batteries with lithium metal anodes.  
 
The lithium metal battery is considered one way forward in the search for a more advanced battery as it has twice the energy capacity of lithium ion batteries that power many of today’s consumer electronics including EVs.  
 
With the expertise in the next-generation battery, the start-up made an agreement with GM to jointly develop lithium metal batteries used for the automaker’s EV models.
 
SK Inc. has made a series of investments into producers of EV battery cells or infrastructure.  
 
It agreed to acquire 55.5 percent in local electric vehicle (EV) charger maker Signet EV for 293 billion won just last month.  
 
The company announced Thursday that its board approved the investment.
 
The decision followed the purchase of a 33.6-percent stake in Yes Powertechnix for 26.8 billion won as it bets on next-generation semiconductors used in electric vehicles (EVs).
 
Yes Powertechnix is the only Korean company capable of producing power chips using silicon carbide — also known as SiC power semiconductors — according to SK on Thursday.
 
“We’ve made efforts to secure the key materials and technologies required for EVs through the investments”, said Kim Yang-taek, executive vice president of SK Inc.
 
“[SK] will keep on eyeing cathode and anode materials producers to strengthen our position as a leading materials company,” Kim said in a statement.  
 
BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]
 
 
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