Although Rivian’s deal with Samsung fell through, the US automaker is reportedly still working with Korean suppliers to develop a pilot production line for battery cells in the country.
The news comes from reporting by The Elec in Korea.
Rivian is using the pilot production run in Korea to gain know-how and experience in battery production before starting its battery plant in the United States.
As per the reporting, Rivian is turning to Korean manufacturers and suppliers as they have the know-how and capacity to work with them.
One Korean battery supplier who is working with Rivian noted:
Rivian plans to make a prismatic battery using a ternary cathode material in the United States… We have been continuously discussing battery design and production with our partners, and it is advantageous for battery production to increase the synergy effect with the Korean supplier industry.
Chinese battery makers either lack the skills or, in CATL’s case, do not have the capacity to work with Rivian. At the same time, European and Japanese batter firms do not have the capacity or the will for overseas expansion.
Thus, Rivian turned to their connections in Korea.
Rivian is not simply sending employees to Korea; they are sending top-level brass to visit and prepare for a pilot production run. These people include Victor Prajapati, Senior Director of Cell Engineering and Mark Johnson, Senior Engineer of Production.
As well, Park Ki-Tae is connected to Rivian’s Korean visits. Park is an ex- Samsung manager who specializes in designing manufacturing lines (GWh scale).
It is unclear when the pilot run will begin, or exactly who they are working with.