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Battery alliance

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Battery alliance

The industrial alliance between Hyundai Motor and the nation's three battery makers is taking shape, after Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Euisun and SK Group Chey Tae-won discussed cooperation in the electric vehicle (EV) business Tuesday. The heir apparent of the giant automotive group had similar meetings with Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong in May and LG Group Chairman Koo Gwang-mo in June. The latest talks also drew industrial watchers' attention interested in how the Samsung-LG-SK "battery alliance" will unfold. The business collaboration between the world's fifth-largest carmaker and three of its top-10 battery makers presents a promising industrial picture. Hyundai Motor has already chosen SK Innovation's battery for its 34-ton hydrogen-electric trucks, of which several are awaiting shipment overseas for the first time. Electric cars and batteries are both future growth engines for Korea Inc. These companies could hold sway over the global industrial scene, depending on how they cooperate with one another. Their ultimate rivals will be Chinese and Japanese battery makers armed with mass-production capacities. The recent meetings among the nation's big conglomerates were significant as they came when Korea urgently needs technological development and capacity expansion. Batteries account for one-third of EV prices, but economies of scale have yet to be realized. The day may come soon when only the top-five or top-three makers remain in the market. That means the battery industry will follow in the footsteps of the semiconductor industry, which requires massive investment into plants and equipment to survive. "Team Korea" in the battery industry desperately needs to collaborate with European automakers. — The Korea Times

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