South Korean electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer SK On Company said this week it would invest KRW470bn (US$352m) to help bring solid state batteries to mass production by 2028, according to local reports.

The company, spun off from parent SK Innovation in 2021, planned to complete construction by the end of 2024 of a pilot production line and a quality verification centre at the Daejeon Sejong Research Institute.

Solid state batteries are seen as the next generation of batteries that will power EVs, as they are said to be faster charging and to have a longer life, higher energy density and higher energy output than current generation lithium ion batteries, and are also less of a fire hazard.

The company said it expected to unveil a prototype solid state battery next year, with the aim of mass production by 2028.

The company also planned to increase research into lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries which are the focus mainly of Chinese battery manufacturers such as Contemporary Amperex Technology Company (CATL) and BYD while SK On has so far focused on nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) cells.

LFP batteries are cheaper to produce as they have comparatively lower content of high cost minerals, helping to drive growth in the lower end EV segments. SK On unveiled a prototype LFP battery with an improved driving range at the InterBattery 2023 exhibition last month.

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