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The Tesla Cybertruck’s most formidable rival gets a bullish battery supply update

(Credit: Tesla Cybertruck/Instagram, Ford)

The Ford F-150 Electric, arguably the most formidable rival to upcoming vehicles like the Tesla Cybertruck and the Rivian R1T, has practically secured its battery supply. This was thanks to a recent settlement reached by South Korean battery makers SK Innovation and LG Chem, which effectively removed a 10-year ban on SK’s imports. 

SK Innovation and LG Chem have been involved in a bitter legal dispute over LG’s accusation that SK had stolen its battery production secrets. LG Chem argued that SK Innovation hired over 70 of its former employees to access sensitive information about battery manufacturing processes, then destroyed pertinent evidence to cover its tracks. 

According to LG Chem, SK Innovation’s alleged theft enabled the company to receive billions of dollars worth of contracts from several automakers, including Volkswagen and Ford, for high-profile vehicles like the Ford F-150 Electric. The International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favor of LG, imposing a 10-year import ban on SK. As per a recent NPR report, however, the two South Korean battery suppliers have recently reached a settlement. 

Under the terms of the settlement, SK Innovation would pay $1.8 billion in cash and royalties to LG. Both companies have also agreed not to sue each other for the next decade. With this in mind, SK could finish constructing its US facilities, such as a plant in Commerce, GA, which would be providing batteries to Ford and Volkswagen. 

US President Joe Biden has issued a statement on SK Innovation and LG Chem’s settlement, calling the agreement a “win for American workers and the American auto industry.” According to Biden, the country needs a reliable and robust supply chain to reach the US’ sustainability goals effectively, and securing the battery supply for key electric vehicles is a significant step towards such a direction. 

“A key part of my plan to Build Back Better is to have the electric vehicles and batteries of the future built here in America, all across America, by American workers. We need a strong, diversified and resilient US-based electric vehicle battery supply chain, so we can supply the growing global demand for these vehicles and components – creating good-paying jobs here at home, and laying the groundwork for the jobs of tomorrow. Today’s settlement is a positive step in that direction, which will bring some welcome relief to workers in Georgia and new opportunity for workers across the country,” the US President noted. 

The CEOs of SK and LG have also released a joint statement about the settlement, stating that they would “work to help the development of EV battery industry in South Korea and the US through healthy competition and friendly cooperation.”

While the specs of the Ford F-150 Electric have not been announced by the veteran automaker yet, its presence in the EV pickup market would most likely make the segment more exciting. With such a big fish in the fray, after all, vehicles from new companies like the Tesla Cybertruck and the Rivian R1T, as well as pickups from veteran automakers like the GMC Hummer EV and the Chevy Silverado Electric, would likely have their hands full with some healthy competition. 

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The Tesla Cybertruck’s most formidable rival gets a bullish battery supply update
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