Ford battery venture with SK Innovation will extend to Europe, executive says

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DETROIT, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co's (F.N) electric vehicle battery joint venture with South Korea's SK Innovation Co Ltd (096770.KS) will extend beyond North America into Europe, a senior Ford executive said on Wednesday.

In May, Ford announced the joint venture with SK to produce about 60 gigawatt-hours (GWh) annually in battery cells and array modules, starting in the middle of this decade, with the potential to expand. The deal, which still needs to be finalized, includes plans for two North American plants. read more

"We're very excited about this joint venture and it's going to be beyond just North America," Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product platform and operations officer, said at a J.P. Morgan conference. "It will certainly extend into Europe."

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Thai-Tang did not provide timing for when the joint venture would open a plant in Europe. SK Innovation declined to comment.

Ford's global EV plan calls for at least 240 GWh of battery cell capacity by 2030, equal to about 10 plants, Thai-Tang previously said. Some 140 GWh of that will be required in North America, with the balance in other regions, including Europe and China.

Also in May, Ford outlined plans to boost spending on electrification efforts by more than a third to more than $30 billion by 2030. read more

On Wednesday, Thai-Tang said beyond batteries and battery pack assembly, Ford also has brought in house the production of gear boxes and motors for electrification, and was looking at software and semiconductor chips for possible vertical integration.

A global semiconductor shortage has caused Ford and other automakers to curtail vehicle production.

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Reporting by Ben Klayman Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Paul Simao

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