Hyundai auto group forges battery alliance with SK Innovation

By Lim Chang-won Posted : September 8, 2020, 11:22 Updated : September 8, 2020, 11:22

[Courtesy of Hyundai Motor]

SEOUL -- South Korea's Hyundai auto group joined hands with SK Innovation, a subsidiary of South Korea's SK Group, to establish an electric vehicle battery ecosystem, starting with cooperation in reusing or recycling spent batteries.

The auto group aims to release 44 eco-friendly models by 2025, including 23 full-electric vehicles. So far, Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors have used batteries mainly from LG Chem and SK Innovation (SKI). In December last year, SKI was selected to provide batteries for the first batch of Hyundai's crossover utility vehicles installed with dedicated platforms.

The auto group agreed with SKI to carry out an empirical cooperation process to collect and verify used battery packs from the EV version of Kia's SUV Niro, while working together to reuse batteries for other purposes and extract metals of economic value from spent batteries.

EV batteries use chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs. They reach an end of life for replacement. Valuable materials in battery packs such as aluminum, cobalt, nickel, lithium and other types of metals can be recovered and recycled. South Korean battery makers have developed technologies that can recover key materials in higher purity from spend batteries.

"We expect this to play a positive role in strengthening Hyundai-Kia's competitiveness in electric vehicles as well as expanding the supply of eco-friendly electric vehicles," Hyundai's chief innovation officer Chi Young-cho said in a statement.

The auto group has enhanced its renewable energy sector as energy storage demand is growing thanks to the global transition from carbon-intensive energy sources to natural gas and renewable source solutions. The group forged a strategic partnership with Wärtsilä of Finland in June 2018 to commercialize an energy storage system (ESS) for battery recycling.

In September 2019, the auto group joined hands with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), the operator of nuclear power stations, to supply energy storage systems using discarded batteries. In June this year, Hyundai partnered with Hanwha Q Cells, the manufacturer of photovoltaic solar cells, to develop an energy storage system that recycles spent batteries.

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