Conti, SK Innovations battery JV a ‘strong team’ for future mobility
Yesterday, Korean firm SK Innovation and Germany’s Continental signed an agreement to create a jointly managed company. SK Innovation and Conti will respectively hold 51 per cent and 49 per cent shareholdings in this joint venture, which is being set up with the goal of mutually developing, producing and globally marketing lithium-ion battery systems for cars. This agreement comes half a year after the two companies signed a letter of intent.
“The cooperation of the two companies’ capabilities and technologies is a remarkable starting point to open a new horizon for future transport,” stated SK Group executive vice-chairman Chey Jae-won. “The combination of SK’s battery cell know how and Continental’s battery system know how will yield the best solution for the operation of electric car batteries and therefore suggests the most evolved model to the global automobile market.”
“We will make up a strong team that will work together highly effectively in developing and manufacturing one of the technologies that is key for future mobility,” added Dr. Elmar Degenhart, chairman of Continental’s Executive Board. “In this way, we can support our global automotive customers in introducing electric drive systems with state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery technology.”
Continental and SK Innovation anticipate that increasingly stringent CO2 regulations around the world will lead to a greater reliance upon electrically assisted drives and pure electric vehicles – technologies that rely upon an effective battery. The new joint company will draw on the two company’s respective expertise: SK Innovation will provide its know-how in the development of battery cells and separators, while Continental will bring its experience in developing and producing battery electronics and entire battery systems, plus their integration into vehicles. Continental is credited with supplying the first mass-produced lithium-ion batteries, in 2007.
“The new venture is thus in an ideal position to establish itself as a pioneer in cutting edge technology for battery solutions for the international automotive industry,” commented José Avila, head of Continental’s Powertrain Division and member of the company’s Executive Board. “Potential customers responded very positively to the announcement of our plans.”
The two companies’ existing business strategies will remain unaffected by the joint management of this new company. Both SK Innovation and Continental will continue to supply their automotive industry with their entire existing product range. The venture, which will be managed operationally from Berlin, Germany, is slated to start business in the fourth quarter of this year. Its research and development activities will be carried out in Daejon, South Korea and Berlin. Production, marketing and sales will be set up locally in target markets around the world. The joint company will initially employ about 200 people around the world, with both partner companies providing equal portions of the workforce.