Kia Corporation and its electric vehicle (EV) battery supplier SK Innovation Company have agreed to collaborate to recycle used batteries in South Korea, safely managing waste and recovering valuable materials.

SK Innovation supplies batteries for many Hyundai and Kia electric and hybrid vehicle models including the Kia EV6 purpose-built EV due to be launched later this year.

In demand metals such as lithium, nickel and cobalt, account for around half of the cost of EV batteries and are becoming increasingly valuable.
Sales of eco-friendly vehicles in South Korea, comprising mainly electric and hybrid vehicles, rose by 54% to 213,264 units in 2020, according to data released by local manufacturers and trade associations, while exports rose 6.8% to 276,000 units.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy predicted the number of expired lithium-ion EV batteries would rise from 1,400 units in 2020 to over 67,000 in 2030 and 2.45m in 2040.

Kia and SK also plan to work together to process and reuse energy storage system (ESS) batteries or recover metals to make new batteries.