As expected, Ford confirmed today that it will partner with Korea’s SK Innovation to produce 60 gigawatt-hours annually in tractional battery cells and arrays” for use in electric vehicle batteries starting “mid-decade”.
The announcement comes less than a day after the unveiling of the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, though it’s important to note this new partnership is still in the very early stages. The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (or an MoU), and the joint venture — called BlueOvalSK — is still subject to more definitive negotiations, as well as regulatory approval. As a result, it’s currently not known whether Ford and SK are planning for a 50:50 partnership, or how many sites the joint entity plans to open.
“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 in a press release. “We will not cede our future to anyone else.”
By Ford’s estimation, the production of 60Gwh of battery components will require two sites, it’s not yet clear whether that would include SK Innovation’s existing Georgia battery plant. (A spokesperson notes that both parties are still “doing some diligence work on the way to approach” those production levels.”) That said, the two companies seem have a fairly firm sense of how battery demand will firm up in the coming decades — Ford’s plan calls for 240 gigawatt-hours of battery cell capacity by 2030, most of which will be dedicated for use in Ford and Lincoln vehicles in North America.