Ford is talking with South Korean electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution (LGES) to replace SK On Company as its partner in its planned battery cell plant in Turkey, according to Korean reports.

This followed recent reports SK On was pulling out of its agreement with Ford and Turkish company Koc Holding to jointly invest US$3.2bn in an electric vehicle (EV) battery plant near Ankara, citing rising interest rates and deteriorating funding conditions.

Ford was looking to set up a joint plant in the country to supply battery cells for its EVs sold across Europe. The agreement with SK On was for a factory to come on stream in 2025 with an initial production capacity of up to 45 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year.

Allowing LGES to replace it in Turkey would be a major setback for SK On which already has a strategic joint venture with Ford, BlueOval-SK, which is building two large scale EV battery plants in the US.

Last month Ford was also reported to be in discussions with Contemporary Amperex Technology Company (CATL) to supply battery cells for the US.

Reports citing industry sources in Seoul suggested Ford and LGES were expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by next month. The move underlined the need for vehicle manufacturers to work with companies which have both leading technology and strong financial backing.