Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and South Korean battery maker SK Innovation (KRX: 096770) announced Thursday a joint venture to build two electric vehicle battery factories in North America. The announcement comes on the heels of the unveiling of Ford’s all-electric pickup F-150 Lightning.
The venture, called BlueOvalSK, aims to make batteries for approximately 600,000 electric vehicles annually. This move is also seen as Ford’s step towards vertically integrating its electric vehicle supply chain.
SK Innovation has a standing contract with Ford to make batteries for the F-150 Lightning. Prior to this venture, the Korean battery maker had a battery factory in Georgia.
The United Auto Workers has aired its concerns that that joint venture might opt out of paying union wages, a growing labor concern as auto companies shift to electric vehicles.
The union’s vice president, Gerald Kariem, said in a statement that “Ford has a moral obligation…to ensure that the battery jobs that replace [the] gas engine and transmission jobs are the same good-paying union jobs that have fueled this American economy for generations.”
Ford North America COO Lisa Drake relayed that the venture is still finalizing its agreements and it doesn’t, “have [its] labor strategy defined yet.”
The company said that the joint venture’s two plants would produce the equivalent of 60 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year.
Ford Motor Company last traded at US$12.49 at the NYSE.
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