Yesterday in Seoul, Canadian company Magna E-Car and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) of Korea, shook hands, signed documents, and agreed to an initial investment of $200 million toward a joint venture in hybrid and electric automotive battery research and development.
The partnership – being called MAHY E-CELL – is split with Magna holding a 60 percent stake, and Hyundai sharing 40 percent. The goal is toward mass production of electrified vehicle batteries leading to broader green energy goals – particularly for HHI – including on-site energy storage, wind and solar, not to mention eyes on one-third of the global EV battery market later this decade.
Regarding the automotive side of things, in which Magna E-Car is also known to be growing, initial goals for MAHY E-CELL are to produce 1,000 battery packs per year in Canada with capacity for 10,000 per year from 2014 onward, if not sooner.
Magna E-Car is a subsidiary of automotive powerhouse Magna, which supplies components to companies including Ford, BMW, GM and Volkswagen. It is the supplier to Ford’s new electric Focus.
It is the fifth-largest car parts maker, and has been test producing batteries since last year, according to The Chosun.
Hyundai, known also for its top spot in shipbuilding, and other industrial manufacturing, has been investing in electrified vehicle parts as far back as 1992, and now wishes to keep building on ambitious goals for its green energy division.
“The establishment of MAHY E-CELL is a reflection of Hyundai Heavy’s determination to become a leading eco-friendly integrated energy company by advancing into Europe and North America’s electric car batteries market and ESS business,” said Lee Choong-dong, COO of HHI’s Green Energy Division. “We see solar energy, wind power, and energy storage systems as integral to our future growth.”
HHI has further said it plans to construct an additional eight battery production facilities in Europe and North America. The goal is to produce 400,000 battery packs by 2018 and a whopping 800,000 per year by 2020, by which time HHI plans to have a 30 percent share in the electric vehicle market in Europe and North America.
As of yet, its main competitor, LG Chem, also based in South Korea, has a significant head start in battery production, with reported global EV battery making capacity of 100,000 units per year as of 2011.
But the market is still heating up, with players vying for position, and for its part in the latest collaboration between giants, Frank Stronach, founder and chairman of Magna E-Car said his company likewise aims to catch up and compete in the growing arena.
“We are pleased to move forward together as partners with HHI,” he said, “to advance next generation cell and battery pack technology to support the growth of the electric and hybrid electric vehicle markets.”