Hyundai Heavy to Enter Electric Car Battery Market

Hyundai Heavy Industries has reached an agreement with Canadian electric car parts maker Magna E-Car to establish a joint venture to develop batteries, a spokesman said on Monday.

The two sides will invest a total of US$200 million (US$1=W1,128) on joint research, development and mass-production of electric car batteries, with Hyundai agreeing to provide 40 percent of the whole investment.

Magna E-Car is a subsidiary of Magna, a supplier of car parts for Ford, BMW, GM and Volkswagen. Magna, North America's largest and the world's fifth-biggest car parts maker, has a plant in Canada where it has been test-producing batteries since last year, Hyundai said. Hyundai has been investing money to develop parts for electric vehicles since 1992.

The two firms plan to produce 10,000 electric car battery packs per year at the plant in Canada from 2014 at the earliest.

Currently, the global electric vehicle market is dominated by GM's Volt and Nissan’s Leaf. The Volt uses LG Chem batteries while the Leaf relies on those made by a Nissan-NEC joint venture.

LG Chem has been able to produce 100,000 EV batteries a year as of late 2011. Meanwhile, Samsung SDI, which is also able to mass-produce similar batteries, is negotiating with automakers such as BMW to potentially supply them with batteries.

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 03, 2012 11:08 KST