Korean Firm To Invest $10M, Hire 285, To Make Battery Parts

BRASELTON, Ga. (AP) — A Korean auto supplier will invest $10 million and hire 285 people northeast of Atlanta to make parts that will accompany electric vehicle batteries that SK Innovation will produce nearby.

Duckyang Industrial Co. said Thursday that the plant in Braselton will make battery modules and energy storage systems for SK Innovation's $2.6 billion, 2,600-worker plant in Commerce.

Duckyang didn't say when it would start production. It said it would occupy a 230,000-square foot (21,000-square meter) building in an industrial park near an Amazon warehouse.

The company already supplies cockpit modules, a dashboard assembly of more than 130 parts that includes the steering wheel, instruments and electronics, to automakers including Kia and Hyundai. Kia has a factory in West Point and Hyundai has a factory in Montgomery, Alabama.

“By entering the U.S. electric vehicle battery market with SKBA, we will have the opportunity to cooperate with many other automotive companies, including Hyundai and Kia Motors, that already have a manufacturing base in the U.S.,” Duckyang CEO Dong-in Son said in a statement. He said the company hoped to supply interior parts and electrical vehicle parts from Braselton.

Duckyang could claim various tax breaks, including an income tax credit allowing it to annually deduct $1,250 per job from state income taxes, up 50% of its tax liability. That could save up to $1.8 million over five years, as long as workers make at least $28,000 per year.

Georgia will provide job training, but will not provide any discretionary incentives, Gordon said. Braselton and Jackson County could give property tax breaks.

Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said the plant shows how a flagship company like SK Innovation can bring other suppliers in its wake.

“In Georgia, we’re focused on growing the entire electric mobility supply chain,” Wilson said.

SK Innovation announced Thursday that it would form a joint venture with Ford Motor Co. to make batteries and related equipment starting in 2025 to meet Ford's battery needs.

The joint venture, called BlueOval SK, would make enough batteries to require about two jointly owned plants. Ford said that it will need the capacity of 10 factories worldwide by 2030.

SK said it would spend about $5.3 billion to build the plants, on top of the $2.6 billion it said it is spending on the plant in Commerce.

The U.S. International Trade Commission decided in February that SK stole 22 trade secrets from LG Energy, and that SK should be barred from importing, making or selling batteries in the United States for 10 years. The dispute was settled in April with SK agreeing to pay $1.8 billion and an undisclosed royalty, allowing it to move ahead with production in Commerce.