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Discussion Starter #1
The US ITC has just banned SK Innovations from manufacturing at it's new battery plant in the US, which was slated to make the batteries for the ID.4 and Ford EV pickup. The order allows 2 years production for VW and 4 years for Ford, to allow Ford and VW to make other arrangements. But it is unclear if SK Innovations will continue construction of the two battery plants in the US, as a result. The plant making batteries for the ID.4 was scheduled for pilot production this year and full-scale production in 2022. This plant would have produced ID.4 batteries for the TN plant. If that battery plant does not start up, VW will have to get batteries from other suppliers and that may be a problem as most battery plants' production is pretty well committed for the next few years. SK Innovations has the option of selling the battery plants, but this "could" put a hitch in continuing construction and delay production of ID.4 batteries for the TN plant. Plus, the purchaser would probably need to license the technology from LG Chem. I think it's certain that the battery plants will be completed, but probably not on the current expedited schedule. The licensing issue would probably mean that the plants would sell for a discount, which is why SK Innovations may not be willing to continue construction. Either Ford or VW could buy/lease the plants but this could mean delays. The ITC order is based on a finding that SK Innovations used LG Chem technology, so it's also unclear what effect this may have on actual operation of the plants. SK Innovations may be able to license the operation of the plants from LG Chem but this could increase the price SK Innovations was going to charge for the batteries. Or, LG Chem could purchase the plants. In short, there could be delays in production of the ID.4 in the US because of lack of batteries.
 

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The US ITC has just banned SK Innovations from manufacturing at it's new battery plant in the US, which was slated to make the batteries for the ID.4 and Ford EV pickup. The order allows 2 years production for VW and 4 years for Ford, to allow Ford and VW to make other arrangements. But it is unclear if SK Innovations will continue construction of the two battery plants in the US, as a result. The plant making batteries for the ID.4 was scheduled for pilot production this year and full-scale production in 2022. This plant would have produced ID.4 batteries for the TN plant. If that battery plant does not start up, VW will have to get batteries from other suppliers and that may be a problem as most battery plants' production is pretty well committed for the next few years. SK Innovations has the option of selling the battery plants, but this "could" put a hitch in continuing construction and delay production of ID.4 batteries for the TN plant. Plus, the purchaser would probably need to license the technology from LG Chem. I think it's certain that the battery plants will be completed, but probably not on the current expedited schedule. The licensing issue would probably mean that the plants would sell for a discount, which is why SK Innovations may not be willing to continue construction. Either Ford or VW could buy/lease the plants but this could mean delays. The ITC order is based on a finding that SK Innovations used LG Chem technology, so it's also unclear what effect this may have on actual operation of the plants. SK Innovations may be able to license the operation of the plants from LG Chem but this could increase the price SK Innovations was going to charge for the batteries. Or, LG Chem could purchase the plants. In short, there could be delays in production of the ID.4 in the US because of lack of batteries.
There is too much money to be made for both SK and LG. The two year period is to allow SK and LG to come to an agreeable settlement to pay LG for the infringement. As you said it gives both VW and Ford to also find another supplier as well. My guess is this may be why VW invested a billion+ dollars into another battery manufacturer as well to hedge their bets. Either way, no one wants to lose market share, so they will posture with demands and counter demands, but in the end an agreement will be made.
 

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In terms of having competitive offerings in the US, I'm also concerned that this may delay or even cancel Hyundai's and Kia's E-GMP EVs being sold in the US since those use SK batteries.
 

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@VidMan,

You may be right. All things where pointing to the Ioniq 5 to be officially released next Tuesday February 16th. There has been radio silence.

It would be really to bad if it causes major delays in their new BEVs.
 

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In terms of having competitive offerings in the US, I'm also concerned that this may delay or even cancel Hyundai's and Kia's E-GMP EVs being sold in the US since those use SK batteries.
My guess is that they will need to reach a settlement.

LG has serious issues of their own - the battery fires in the Kona are being blamed on a defect in the separator in the battery cells. LG makes the cells - I have no idea who makes the separator. SK should "offer" their technology to LG in exchange for LG dropping this complaint.
 

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I can only hope this is true. I would very much prefer to have US made battery packs than something done in China. No offense to China, but quality control is very limited, if any.
 

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Google Street View hasn't been updated since May 2019, but you can see the inital factory construction as of then: Google Maps
 

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I am sure SK will come up with a work around. Maybe they change their design or license the technology.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Biden has issued an order to investigate domestic supply chains for critical products. Increases the chance that he will grant SK a waiver for domestic production of batteries.
 

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The plot thickens. I don’t fully understand how both the prior decision and this one can be true at the same time, but hopefully more will emerge.

 

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The plot thickens. I don’t fully understand how both the prior decision and this one can be true at the same time, but hopefully more will emerge.
It says they did not infringe on LG patents. The previous case said they did infringe on trade secrets, a different thing legally. It does weaken LG's case on that, so maybe more likely to settle.
 
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It says they did not infringe on LG patents. The previous case said they did infringe on trade secrets, a different thing legally. It does weaken LG's case on that, so maybe more likely to settle.
You can't really infringe on trade secrets. Secrecy itself is the only real protection a company has for them. But you can steal trade secrets and that's what the first ruling found SK Innovations had done. If those secrets had been accidentally leaked by LG or if SKI had figured them out on their own, there's nothing LG could have done about it.
 

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You can't really infringe on trade secrets. Secrecy itself is the only real protection a company has for them. But you can steal trade secrets and that's what the first ruling found SK Innovations had done. If those secrets had been accidentally leaked by LG or if SKI had figured them out on their own, there's nothing LG could have done about it.
See: Trade Secret Infringement under the Uniform Trade Secret Act. I don't know what the actual name of the charges were, but 'misappropriate' seems most common. Infringe is shorter and interchangeable, and not as mean as steal. Especially since they way they got them was hiring some LG employees.
 
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