South Korea has announced an ambitious joint investment plan to develop advanced battery technologies, including solid-state batteries. The South Korean government, in collaboration with the nation’s leading battery companies, intends to invest 20 trillion won ($15.1 billion) through 2030. According to a statement from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, this joint investment will enable the country to begin commercial production of solid-state batteries ahead of competitors.
Home to three of the world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturers – LG Energy Solution Ltd (LGES), Samsung SDI Co Ltd, and SK On – South Korea boasts a significant presence in the global EV battery market. Collectively, these companies control over a quarter of the market share, supplying major automakers such as Tesla Inc, Volkswagen AG, General Motors Co, and Ford Motor Co.
As part of the investment plan, the three battery firms will construct pilot production plants in South Korea, which will serve as product and manufacturing innovation centres. These facilities will be used to test and manufacture advanced products, including solid-state batteries, cylindrical 4680 cell batteries, and cobalt-free batteries, before initiating mass production at their international production sites.
Battery manufacturers are engaged in a race to develop new battery technologies that provide longer driving ranges, higher energy densities, and enhanced safety compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries. Chinese battery giant CATL recently unveiled a condensed matter battery, which they plan to mass-produce later this year for use in EVs. Meanwhile, solid-state battery technology is being explored by other industry giants such as Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp and Germany’s Volkswagen.
The South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy revealed that the investment aims to quadruple domestic production capacity of cathode materials and triple exports of battery production-related equipment. This announcement follows the government’s recent unveiling of a 7 trillion won financial support plan for domestic battery manufacturers to invest in North American infrastructure in response to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act.