South Korean battery-making equipment manufacturers are tapping into the European markets. On the surface, they said it’s to respond to the growing number of local battery makers who are relocating there, but industry watchers say the real reason is to seek new opportunities in the EU where EV batteries have become an area of focus.
Industry sources said Dec. 19 that companies like Mplus, PNE Solution and TSI are in talks with Swedish battery company Northvolt AB. Some local firms are also pitching to carmakers like Volkswagen.
Along with BMA and PSA, many European companies are looking into creating their own battery lines as the EU prepares to provide up to 3.2 billion euros (KRW 4.15 trillion) worth of subsidies into the EV battery business.
“The move towards Europe is due to two reasons, one because it is not easy doing business in China due to delayed payments and local competition, and two because Europe is increasingly becoming a boon for business, not to mention that local battery makers already have corporations in Europe so they won’t have too much trouble settling down,” said one industry expert.
However, whether the results will be positive remains to be seen. As a case in point, Northvolt recently signed a contract with a Chinese company to supply assembly equipment. From South Korea, only CIS succeeded in signing a deal with Northvolt.
The partnerships between local battery makers and Chinese equipment makers are another factor said to be pushing the Korean equipment makers to Europe. In China, battery companies are in the form of joint venture, meaning the Chinese government will breathe down their necks. SK Innovation is currently jointly developing some of its battery equipment with Lead China.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.