Hyundai Motor Group and LG Energy Solution this week began construction of an electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing plant in Indonesia, as they look to strengthen their respective positions in the global EV market.

This followed a preliminary agreement signed in July 2021 to invest US$1.1bn in the joint venture to manufacture battery cells for BEVs with each partner taking a 50% stake.

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The factory is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2023 with mass production expected to begin early in 2024.

The factory will have an initial capacity to produce 10 GWh of NCMA lithium-ion batteries per year, enough to power 150,000 EVs.

Capacity can later be expanded to 30GWh as regional demand for EVs rises. The batteries produced at the plant will power Hyundai and Kia EVs based on the group’s dedicated Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) platform.

The plant’s groundbreaking ceremony was held in the Karawang New Industry City, 70km east of Jakarta, and was attended by members of the Indonesian government, the CEO of the joint venture Hong Woo-pyeong and the head of Hyundai Motor Company’s Asia-Pacific headquarters Youngtack Lee.

Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group Euisun Chung, CEO of Hyundai Mobis Sung Hwan Cho and CEO of LG Energy Solution Jong-hyun Kim attended the event virtually from South Korea.

Chung said in a statement: “Hyundai Motor Group is focusing its capabilities on becoming a global leader in the EV market, which is key to securing our future competitiveness. This plant is a part of these efforts. Starting with this plant, an EV ecosystem will be successfully established in Indonesia with the development of various related industries. Furthermore, we expect Indonesia to play a key role in the ASEAN EV market.”

Kim added: “Today marks a significant step in starting a new era for the EV battery industry in Indonesia, with the establishment of its first battery cell manufacturing plant in the country. Through the joint venture we are now a step closer to establishing the world’s first comprehensive EV supply chain. LG Energy Solution will do its utmost to foster the joint battery cell manufacturing facility into becoming a key base to take on the global EV market.”

The plant will help ensure a stable supply of EV battery cells for Hyundai Motor Group in the coming years, as global automakers drop internal combustion engines from their ranges.

It will be part of a broader integrated investment plan being coordinated by the Indonesian government to take advantage of the country’s abundant natural resources.

A new nickel mine, smelter and refining operations are planned to be built in the remote Maluku islands to supply growing demand for key EV battery raw materials.