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EV batteries

SK Innovation buys 13% stake in China’s EV battery-swap station operator

Jan 21, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Blue Park Smart Energy Technology's EV battery-swap station in Beijing
Blue Park Smart Energy Technology's EV battery-swap station in Beijing

SK Innovation Co. has signed a deal to acquire a 13% stake in a Chinese electric vehicle battery-swap station operator, as the South Korean company seeks to expand its business in the world’s largest auto market.

With the stake purchase, SK Innovation becomes a strategic partner of Blue Park Smart Energy Technology Co. (BPSE), a subsidiary of Beijing Automotive Group, according to the Korean company on Jan. 21. They did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

SK said it expects the partnership to create synergy with its battery manufacturing joint venture launched in 2013 with Beijing Automotive.

BPSE runs battery-swap stations for electric taxis and ride-hailing service providers in Beijing, saving time for EV drivers by allowing them to replace fully charged batteries with empty ones instead of plugging in and waiting for the cars to recharge.

Batteries at such stations can also be used as energy storage systems to help Chinese cities build an extra power supply infrastructure, according to SK.

LEADING PARADIGM SHIFT

An SK Innovation official outlines the company's EV battery offerings at an expo in Seoul.
An SK Innovation official outlines the company's EV battery offerings at an expo in Seoul.

“We aim to bring about a paradigm shift in the EV market through this battery-as-a-service business model,” said Ji Dong-seop, head of SK Innovation’s battery business.

The company said it plans to establish a rechargeable battery value chain in China, ranging from rental and charging to reuse and recycling of EV batteries.

SK Innovation has been increasing its presence in China, where about half of the world's EVs are sold, as part of its efforts to become one of the top three global players.

In November, the company began operating its second electric vehicle battery plant in China and announced plans to set up a third China-based battery plant in a joint venture with Chinese battery maker EVE Energy Co.

According to market research firm SNE Research, SK Innovation came in fifth with a share of 5.5% in the global EV battery sales market in the January-to-November period of 2020.

Write to Jae-Kwang Ahn at ahnjk@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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