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SK Innovation to make electric vehicle batteries in Hungary

South Korean company joins competition with 7.5 GWh-capacity plant

SEOUL -- SK Innovation of South Korea announced Thursday that it plans to build a plant in Hungary to manufacture lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles starting in 2020.

The company will spend 840 billion won ($772 million) to build a factory with the capacity to produce 7.5 gigawatt-hours worth of batteries a year.

SK Innovation said it expects to break ground in February at a 430,000 sq. meter site in Komarom-Esztergom County and begin operating the factory in time to supply batteries for the electric vehicle models that leading automakers plan to release in 2020.

The Hungary plant will likely manufacture a new type of lithium-ion battery that can give cars a range of 500km on a full charge.

SK Innovation is a relative latecomer to the electric vehicle battery market but plans to catch up to rivals with this investment.

South Korea's battery makers as a group are bolstering their presence in the global electric vehicle market. Samsung SDI completed construction of a battery factory in Hungary this May and expects it to begin full production in the spring of 2018. That company already operates such a plant in China.

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