Launching what should be a long partnership, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Gov. Brian Kemp joined SK Innovation on Tuesday to break ground on what’s billed as Georgia’s largest single foreign investment.
SK Innovation, a Korean developer and manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles, initiated the construction of its $1.67 billion new electric vehicle battery factory located on 1523 Steve Reynolds Industrial Parkway in Commerce.
The facility will generate 2,000 jobs by 2025.
Ross said that in 2018 360,000 new electric vehicles were sold in the U.S., which amounts to an 80 percent increase from last year’s total. Globally he said electric vehicle sales surged to more than 2 million units last year, and are projected to reach nearly 4 million in 2020.
“You only have to look at SK’s operations, from telecom to semiconductors, to chemicals and energy, to know that this global leader has embraced the new dynamic,” Ross said. “Innovative products and the processes to make these products are revitalizing the U.S. economy, which is growing faster and creating more jobs than it has in decades before.”
He said the direct jobs at SK Innovation’s battery factory will produce thousands of others in supply chains and services not only in Georgia, but throughout the country.
Kemp relayed the company’s plans to donate $60,000 toward Commerce City Schools to support Science, Technology, the Arts, Engineering and Mathematics programs for all grade levels.
“We are humbled by SK’s investment in our students, workers and our state’s future and look forward to years of collaboration to ensure our best days are ahead,” Kemp said.
More than 200 guests, international and U.S. leaders attended the groundbreaking ceremony, including Executive Vice President of SK Group Jae-Won Chey, CEO and President of SK Innovation Jun Kim, members of congress and state legislators.
J. Clark Hill, the mayor of Commerce, said he has no doubt that SK Innovations will change the lives and landscapes in Georgia.
Hill presented a proclamation on behalf of the Commerce City Council to Kim and Yoon Ye-seon, president of the company’s battery business. The proclamation expresses the city’s gratitude toward the company and formally welcomes the battery factory to Commerce.
“We’re family now and I think you heard that from many of the speakers today,” Hill said. “I want to welcome you all into the Commerce family and for choosing us to be your partner in this incredible opportunity. I say thank you very much (in Korean) — gamsahamnida.”