Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) plans to join with SK On Company to invest in an electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing plant in the US to help meet forthcoming local content requirements for battery materials.

According to local reports, the two companies have been in talks over the joint investment since May with a preliminary agreement originally expected to have been signed in the third quarter of 2022.

The automaker is spending US$5.5bn on a new dedicated EV manufacturing plant in Bryan County in Georgia with capacity to produce 300,000 units per year from 2025, to be sold mainly in the North American region under the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands.

Hyundai and SK On were expected to sign a memorandum of understanding this week to invest KRW2.5trn (US$1.9bn) in the battery cell plant with the port city of Savannah the likely location. The two companies were expected to each take a 50% stake in the joint venture which was expected to have a production capacity of 20 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of battery cells per year from 2026, enough to power 300,000 EVs.

The factory was expected to produce pouch type high nickel batteries for Hyundai’s nearby dedicated EV plant and also for the automaker’s existing plant in Montgomery, Alabama, and Kia’s West Point plant in Georgia, both of which have added EV production lines alongside their conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle operations.

Hyundai uses SK On’s pouch type batteries for its Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6 models and the forthcoming Ioniq 7 and Genesis GV70 models while Kia uses them in its EV6 sedan and its EV9 SUV scheduled to be launched next April.