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APEC summit cars to be powered by SK batteries

SK Innovation hopes to spur battery business in Chinese EV market

A Chinese electric car, equipped with a power pack featuring lithium-ion batteries supplied by SK Innovation, has been selected as one of the official vehicles for the APEC summit in Beijing next week.

SK Innovation announced Thursday that 50 Shenbao electric vehicles, produced by China’s state-run Beijing Automotive Group, would be deployed for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit slated for Nov. 10-11.

“The selection of Shenbao as the official car for world leaders at APEC would be a great chance to showcase SK Innovation’s cutting-edge battery technology,” a company official said. 
Beijing Automotive Industries Holdings’ Shenbao EV. (SK Innovation)
Beijing Automotive Industries Holdings’ Shenbao EV. (SK Innovation)

The electric car is installed with a battery pack holding SK Innovation’s battery cells. The packs were assembled by Beijing BESK Technology, a joint venture formed last December between SK Innovation, Beijing Automotive Group and Beijing Electronics Holdings.

Shenbao EV is Beijing Automotive Group’s first electric vehicle model using a BESK battery pack. The car is expected to debut on the market next year.

Shenbao’s lithium-ion pack boasts a total capacity of 37.5 kilowatt-hours and features a high energy density, 30 percent higher than existing batteries, which gives the electric car a driving range of around 200 km on a single charge, and a maximum speed of 160 km per hour.

SK Innovation said that as the Shenbao gains more international attention, it expects its battery business to follow suit to eventually gain more clients around the world, including the fast-growing Chinese electric vehicle market.

“China is expected to emerge as the world’s biggest electric vehicle market with some 5 million electric cars to hit the road by 2020,” Kim Hong-dae, head of SK Innovation’s new business department, said. “SK Innovation will take this as an opportunity to push further into the Chinese electric car market.”

SK Innovation has already supplied Beijing Automotive Group with enough battery cells to power up some 2,000 electric vehicles via the joint venture. SK plans to supply additional battery cells for 5,000-8,000 more cars next year.

The company is also seeking to turn BESK into China’s No. 1 electric car battery firm by increasing its battery-pack manufacturing capacity to 20,000 electric vehicles per year by 2017.

By Park Han-na (