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Ford, SK Innovation to form JV to manufacture battery cells and modules; 60 GWh/year from BlueOvalSK

Ford and SK Innovation signed an MoU to create a joint venture—to be called BlueOvalSK—to produce approximately 60 GWh annually in traction battery cells and array modules, starting mid-decade, with potential to expand.

About US$5.3 billion (6 trillion KRW) will be invested in the JV. The annual output of 60 GWh produced by BlueOvalSK can power about 600,000 electric pickup trucks (each requires about 100 kWh of battery).

This MoU is just the start; it’s a key part of our plan to vertically integrate key capabilities that will differentiate Ford far into the future. We will not cede our future to anyone else.

—Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO

The creation of the JV is subject to definitive agreements, regulatory approvals and other conditions. Next-gen cells and arrays will be used to power several future Ford battery electric vehicles.

Ford’s global BEV plan calls for at least 240 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery cell capacity by 2030. Approximately 140 GWh will be required in North America, with the balance dedicated to other key regions, including Europe and China.

Global automakers have praised SK Innovations’ EV batteries for their safety, high capacity and long life. SK Innovation will be supplying batteries for the fully electric version of Ford’s legendary and best-selling F-150 pickup truck. We are thrilled to be supporting the electrification of a vehicle that represents the very best of American automaking.

—Jee Dong-seob, Head of SK Innovation’s Battery Business

SK Innovation has specialized in the development and commercialization of high-nickel NCM battery technology. The company developed the world’s first NCM-811 battery in 2016 and continued to innovate and to develop the world’s first Nickel 9 battery (battery that has 90% nickel content) that will be mass produced in the US, powering Ford’s F-150 Lightning.

SK Innovation has pioneered the development of mid- to large-size EV batteries since 1991 and has expanded its battery operations globally since 2010. SK Innovation’s original plan was to secure more than 125 GWh of annual capacity by 2025. However, with this JV, the company expects to reach a higher target of 190 GWh by 2025.

The first two battery plants of SK Innovation in the US are located in Georgia with a total annual capacity of 22 GWh. The 10 GWh plant (Plant 1) is running pilot production after the completion of mechanical construction earlier this year, and commercial production will begin early next year. Plant 2 with a scale of 12 GWh is currently under construction and planned to be completed in early next year. Mass production at Plant 2 is expected to start in 2023.


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