Continental and SK Innovation Join Forces to Develop and Supply Battery Technology

July 24, 2012 by Jeff Shepard

SK Innovation of Korea, and the international automotive supplier Continental of Germany, will develop and supply battery technology for the automotive industry as partners in the future. The signed an agreement founding a jointly managed company, with the goal of mutually developing, producing and globally marketing lithium-ion battery systems for cars. The operational phase has thus been initiated just six months after the letter of intent.

"The cooperation of the two companies’ capabilities and technologies is a remarkable starting point to open a new horizon for future transport. The combination of SK’s battery cell know how and Continental’s battery system know how will yield the best solution for the operation of electric car batteries and therefore suggests the most evolved model to the global automobile market," noted Chey Jae-won, executive vice chairman of SK Group.

"We will make up a strong team that will work together highly effectively in developing and manufacturing one of the technologies that is key for future mobility. In this way, we can support our global automotive customers in introducing electric drive systems with state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery technology," added Dr. Elmar Degenhart, Chairman of the Executive Board of Continental.

Continental and SK Innovation anticipate that, as CO2 regulations become more stringent worldwide, electrically assisted drives and pure electric vehicles will become increasingly important in the market. And the battery is one of the key components of these technologies.

SK Innovation is providing its know-how in the development of battery cells, which are described as being technologically at the cutting edge in this field with respect to energy or power density, depending on the design. In addition, SK Innovation is one of the leading suppliers of separators.

In turn, the international automotive supplier Continental has many years of experience in developing and producing battery electronics and entire battery systems as well as integrating them into the vehicle. Continental supplied the first mass-produced lithium-ion batteries already in 2007.

"The new venture is thus in an ideal position to establish itself as a pioneer in cutting edge technology for battery solutions for the international automotive industry. Potential customers responded very positively to the announcement of our plans," said Jose Avila, Member of the Executive Board of Continental and Head of Powertrain Division.

Both of the founding companies will continue to pursue their own business strategy.

SK Innovation will hold a 51% stake in the new company, Continental 49%. The business strategies of SK Innovation and of Continental will remain unaffected by the joint management of this new company. Both companies will continue to supply their customers in the automotive industry with their entire existing product range.

The venture, which will be managed operationally from Berlin, is slated to start business in the fourth quarter of this year. Its research and development activities will be carried out in Daejon, South Korea, in addition to Berlin. Production, marketing and sales will be set up locally in the target markets worldwide. Initially, there will be about 200 employees worldwide, with both partner companies providing equal portions of the workforce.

More news and information regarding the latest developments in Smart Grid electronics can be found at Darnell’s SmartGridElectronics.Net.