South Korean battery maker SK Innovation gears up to target the Chinese replaceable battery market in collaboration with Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC Group).
SK Innovation announced on Thursday that it rose to become a major strategic investor by acquiring 13.3 percent of shares of Blue Park Smart Energy (BPSE) - a battery recycling service provider under BAIC Group. The total sum of investment was not released as per the two contractual parties’ agreement.
SK Innovation and BAIC Group plan to join hands in the BaaS industry – “Battery as a Service,” which means a series of battery-related services including rental, reuse and recycling. The cooperative relationship with one of the largest Chinese automobile manufacturers will provide the South Korean batter maker with the basis for entering battery business in the world’s largest EV market.
There has been deeper discussion on building up a network of battery swap stations than on any other initiatives. Just as you go to a gas station to fill up your vehicle, this service allows you to visit an offline store and replace a dead battery pack with a fully charged one. It only takes three minutes to have a fully charged battery in your hands because a battery swap station interchanges batteries per se. By contrast, it takes 45 minutes to get a battery recharged. This explains why there is a growing need for battery swap stations among taxi drivers and car-sharing service providers who have a comparatively long driving distance. Furthermore, as EVs and their batteries can belong to two different ownerships, the battery replacement service has the merits of easily expanding its business to other segments such as rental or reuse.
There is high hope that batteries kept in swap stations may double as an Energy Storage System (ESS) to establish a decentralized power infrastructure network in urban areas, according to SK Innovation. Given that it has the country’s largest networks of gas stations, SK Innovation expects that its business will grow to provide battery swap stations and ESS services across South Korea.