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EV charging

SK expands EV profile with Signet EV acquisition, Polestar investment

By Apr 15, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Signet EV chargers in the US (Courtesy of SK)
Signet EV chargers in the US (Courtesy of SK)

SK Group will enter the fast-growing electric vehicle (EV) charger market by acquiring a majority stake in South Korea’s industrial charger manufacturer and EV charging solutions provider Signet EV.

Moreover, SK said it will invest around $60 million in Sweden’s EV manufacturer Polestar to expand its presence in the global EV sector.

According to SK Holdings on Apr. 15, the company received board approval to acquire 55.5% of Signet EV’s shares for 293 billion won ($263 million).

Established in 2016, Signet EV is the market leader in the super-fast EV charger segment in the US, with more than 50% share.

The company’s 350 kW charger had previously received the world’s first accreditation in 2018 from the American safety certification company UL LLC.

Signet EV’s revenue came in at 61.9 billion won ($55 million) last year. Some 51.0 billion won ($46 million) of this revenue came from the overseas operations of its super-fast charger business, whereas the overseas figure represented only 28.0 billion ($25 million) in 2018.  

Following the acquisition, SK is expected to further strengthen Signet EV’s manufacturing capabilities by investing more on R&D, product development and overseas expansion.

The global EV charger market is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 24%, from around $3.3 billion in 2021 to $22 billion in 2030.

INVESTMENT IN SWEDEN’S EV MAKER

SK Holdings will also invest around $60 million in Polestar of Sweden through the New Mobility Fund jointly established with Chinese automaker Geely.

Polestar is an EV manufacturer under Volvo Cars and boasts a higher market share than Tesla in the same model range in some Scandinavian countries.

In its recent round of funding, Polestar raised a total of $550 million to expand in China and Europe. Polestar is also considering entry to Korea by the second half of this year.

Polestar 2 (Courtesy of Polestar)
Polestar 2 (Courtesy of Polestar)

The automaker’s first fully electric vehicle, Polestar 2, was launched last year in a number of markets, including China and Europe, and has exceeded its annual target by selling more than 20,000 units globally.

Polestar is undergoing production facility expansion in China to reach a global annual capacity of 100,000 units. 

SK said its investment in Polestar marks the first step in the two companies' strategic partnership in the eco-friendly mobility sector.

“SK has been investing across different EV segments -- from materials, like our investment in the world’s leading copper foil maker Wason, to innovative business models, like our investment in Grab. We will become a key player in the EV market with the Signet EV acquisition and Polestar investment,” said an SK spokesman.

Write to Jun-ho Cha at chacha@hankyung.com

Daniel Cho edited this article.

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