Hyundai Motor Group, Korea Zinc Look to Expand EV Battery Materials

Hyundai electric vehicle parked on the road

(Credit: Hyundai)

by | Aug 31, 2023

Hyundai electric vehicle parked on the road

(Credit: Hyundai)

Hyundai Motor Group has signed an agreement with Korea Zinc for joint outsourcing of nickel raw material and collaboration across the nickel value chain in an effort to boost materials needed for battery production.

The partnership will work to establish a stable nickel supply through joint sourcing of nickel, processing nickel, and exploration of new businesses, including battery recycling. The companies will both purchase nickel raw materials and invest in mine development projects to meet requirements outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Hyundai plans to source 50% of the nickel required for EV battery production to meet the IRA requirement from partnering with Korea Zinc. Nickel supply from the partnership is expected to begin in 2026. HMG Global, a joint venture established by Hyundai Motor, Kia, and Hyundai Mobis, also plans to acquire a 5% stake in Korea Zinc as a part of the agreement.

Since unveiling its plan to produce 3.64 million EVs by 2030, Hyundai has prioritized procurement of key raw materials like nickel and lithium and is seeking collaborations with other partners that specialize in raw materials procurement.

Meanwhile, Korea Zinc has been working to expand its presence in the EV battery industry, focusing on nickel. The company has established a subsidiary to produce EV Battery materials and has plans to build a nickel smelter in Ulsan later this year.

EV Industry Relies on Nickel, Other Critical Yet Limited Metals

Along with Hyundai’s goal of being a top three producer of EVs, many car companies worldwide are turning to the growing EV market. Yet, the continued growth of the industry relies on the ability to source nickel and other critical metals, which are known to be a limited resource.

Various new sourcing methods have been created for acquiring metals needed for EVs, including nature-based extraction methods and battery recycling.

Korea Zinc reports a growing capacity for nickel production, supported by facility improvements and technological advances. Hyundai Motor Group has also indicated a commitment to meeting nickel and other EV battery needs through recycling. Recently, the company signed a contract to supply waste batteries with a German railway company, and Hyundai has formed a task force for the waste battery business.

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