There is a lot of dust between EV battery manufacturers. The two main battery suppliers are LG Chem and SK Innovation. LG Chem and an unnamed battery maker filed a lawsuit in April 2019 alleging SK Innovation stole LG Chem’s trade secrets. LF Chem produces batteries for many automakers, including General Motors and Tesla. LG Chem is supplying batteries for the Ford F-150 EV that will soon be on the market.
The US International Trade Commission has now decided to ban the SK lithium-ion batteries used in the Ford F-150 and the Volkswagen ID4 for 10 years. The ban will then be lifted. This decision will cause earth-shattering complications, not only for the supply of batteries to SK automobile manufacturers, but also for the entire electric car drive.
LG Chem says SK poaches its employees to get LGbattery technology
Used alkaline batteries intended for recycling are displayed in the television studio in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The decision allows SK to supply batteries to Ford for four years and to supply batteries to VW for two years, in order to allow these third party suppliers to switch to new domestic suppliers. But will SK complete its battery plant in Georgia under these conditions? SK is building a factory specifically for the production of batteries for electric vehicles. By the middle of the decade, more than 2,500 people will be working there. Production is scheduled to begin this year.
Both Ford and VW have big plans for their electric cars, and it comes down to providing SK with the batteries they need to make their plans a reality. Ford alone is investing $11.5 billion in electric vehicle models this year and next. Volkswagen claims to have invested more than $800 million in domestic EDM production. This would create more than 1 000 jobs, 15 000 training opportunities and produce more than 150 000 electric vehicles per year. The losers are good paying jobs and affordable EVs.
The complaint follows LG Chem’s allegation that SK extorted its staff to obtain LG’s battery technology. There are also allegations that SK has destroyed all evidence related to LG’s technology. SK admitted to destroying some of the evidence, but did so before the indictment. On that, the commercial court had earlier ruled that what HC did was done with a criminal mind and with the intent to conceal evidence of misappropriation of trade secrets.
This decision led to LG Chem’s decision to default a year ago. The Commission has now decided to ban it. According to Automotive News, MTC had several options moving forward. He may confirm or set aside the decision and order a hearing.
There are few companies in the world that can meet the demand of GM and Ford.
GM Ultium EV Battery Pack | GM
APPROPRIATE: Tesla wants to supply batteries to its competitors.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The two companies accuse each other of patent infringement. Each is trying to ban the other’s products in America. These cases will not be heard before the end of 2021. Until then, there is still much to be gained or lost in the race to electrification.
The demand for electric vehicles is increasing. President Biden outlined his agenda to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles. This means that Ford, GM, Volkswagen and others will have to ramp up their EV production. That means they need more batteries. No less. And there are few companies in the world that can meet the needs of GM or Ford. One of them is SK.
According to Automotive News, the only solution for SK is to ask Biden to veto the ban. ITC decisions are rarely reversed, and a ban would be difficult. However, this is something SK has already said. She says a battery ban would be bad for American jobs and climate change. It remains to be seen what impact this will have on production of the F150 EV and the ID4, and whether SK will maintain its commitment to supply them with batteries and its Georgia plant.
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