Ford partner SK On inks US graphite supply deal
Key Ford battery partner is ramping up its US battery supply chain
Colorado-based energy company Westwater has announced its first offtake agreement to supply graphite anode products to South Korean battery maker SK On, a key partner to OEMs such as Michigan's Ford and Germany's VW in the US.
SK On will purchase graphite anode products from Westwater's Kellyton graphite facility to use in its EV batteries for the US market.
“The contract with SK On is another important step in advancing Westwater’s graphite business. We are excited to partner with a leading global manufacturer of EV batteries and assist SK On to further establish its US-based supply chain," says Terence Cryan, Westwater's chairman.
The agreement will help Westwater secure the financing needed to complete construction of the first phase of the Kellyton graphite plant.
SK On is part of Ford's on-shored US battery JV Blue Oval SK. Ford hopes to use the JV to supply its EV range with batteries that qualify for US subsidies.
"We believe that Westwater is well positioned as one of the first US-based suppliers of natural purified graphite for companies seeking an IRA-compliant source by 2025," says Westwater CEO Frank Bakker.
Ford also operates a controversial battery JV with Chinese global battery leader Catl, which has drawn fire from US legislators who claim it is a backdoor route for the Chinese battery industry to enter into the US market.
After pressing pause on the project with Catl amid political criticism, Ford relaunched it with reduced production capacity.
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