Kia Corporation has agreed to establish a comprehensive electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain deal with a number of South Korean private sector companies and public sector entities in a move the automaker described as groundbreaking for the industry.

The stakeholders, which include mineral extraction/processing and recycling companies and government departments, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a venture which will oversee all aspects of the EV battery value chain, from raw material extraction to recycling of used batteries, to help establish a circular economy. The key objective is to create a sustainable value chain across the entire EV battery industry.

The partners will jointly launch a pilot project to be managed by Kia, to oversee the overall EV battery aftermarket business.

Kia said the “groundbreaking public private collaboration will promote a sustainable EV battery ecosystem. It aims to forge a cooperative system across the entire industry, from automaker and battery recycling companies to second life battery material manufacturers and local governments”.

Kia also said it plans to take a lead role in the commercialisation of Battery as a Service (BaaS) through initiatives such as subscription and remanufacturing services.

The automaker sees this collaboration as crucial for evaluating and quantifying the economic opportunities in the EV battery aftermarket business, as EV sales continue to rise “leading to an accelerated accumulation of used batteries”. The initiative is also essential to verify the battery recycling process and use used batteries to optimum effect.

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The pilot project will collect detailed data at each stage of the EV battery value chain from raw material extraction, subsequent battery production and installation in electric vehicles to recycling used batteries.

The data will be used to promote new business opportunities and to establish a robust industrial system.