Ford and SK Innovation to form BlueOvalSK, commits to battery manufacturing

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Following last month’s announcement of Ford’s Ion Park, the American automotive company has made a statement reinforcing its commitment to developing and manufacturing battery cells and arrays in the US.

Ford will be partnering with South Korean petroleum refining company SK Innovation to form BlueOvalSK. Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU), both companies aim to produce battery cells and array modules, starting mid-decade — with the potential to expand.

"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,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Farley.

Farley added, “We will not cede our future to anyone else.”

According to Ford, the creation of the JV is subject to definitive agreements, regulatory approvals, and other conditions.

Next-gen cells and arrays produced by the BlueOvalSK will be used to power several future Ford battery electric vehicles.

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“We are delighted to be entering into a collaboration with Ford, America’s leading and iconic automaker. Ford is one of the most active players in vehicle electrification today. We are proud to be opening this new chapter in their long history. Our JV with Ford will play a pivotal role in fleshing out the electric vehicle value chain in the United States, a key objective of the current US administration,” said SK Innovation CEO and President Kim Jun.

SK Innovation Battery Business Head Jee Dong-seob added, “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.”

With Ford’s new ally in battery development and production, the company is poised to gain momentum in the growing EV segment.

This year, Ford announced its commitment to invest at least US$22 billion through 2025 to deliver connected, all-electric vehicles, building on its areas of strength, starting with EV versions of its most popular nameplates: Mustang Mach-E, E-Transit, and F-150 Lightning.

The automaker is well-equipped to back its longer-term battery plans that will support its current and future EV offerings.

Aside from its Ford Ion Park facility, the company also announced it is growing its investment in Solid Power, an industry-leading producer of all-solid-state batteries for EVs.

Ford is building on nearly two decades of battery expertise which will be matched by SK Innovation’s decades-long experience in batteries. The South Korean energy conglomerate has pioneered the development of mid- to large-sized EV batteries since 1991 and has expanded its battery operations globally since 2010.

SK Innovation also specializes in the development and commercialization of high-nickel NCM battery technology.

In 2016, it developed the world’s first NCM-811 battery and continued to innovate and develop the world’s first Nickel 9 battery which will be mass-produced in the US and is slated to power the upcoming F-150 Lightning.

SK Innovation has a spotless health and safety record and has not registered a single EV battery-related fire, reported Ford.

Ford expects the annual energy demand for its EV offerings in North America to rise by 140 gigawatt-hours (GWh) while the company expects the global energy demand of its electrified vehicles to inflate by 240GWh in 2030.

Through BlueOvalSK Ford plans to lead the electric vehicle revolution by preparing to the transition to solid-state batteries as the company believes it shows great promise and has more benefits that favor Ford and its customers.

That said, we’re excited to see Ford bring its electrified offerings to our local dealerships. The Ford F-150 Lightning looks like a solid contender and will most likely shake things up in our growing EV segment.

Other carmakers have already introduced their hybrids and EVs to the Philippines. Toyota has the Prius, Prius C, Corolla Altis Hybrid, and the Corolla Cross, while Nissan just made the Leaf locally available.

Photos from Ford

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