The United States is increasing its electric vehicle battery imports at a rapid pace, as the supply from U.S. electric vehicle battery manufacturers is still insufficient. South Korea’s battery exports to the United States are increasing rapidly, too.
From January to May this year, approximately 224,000 electric vehicles were sold in the United States, up 150 percent from a year ago. According to the Korea International Trade Association, the United States imported US$2.949 billion of lithium-ion batteries in that period, up 75 percent year on year.
Of the top 10 countries with the largest electric vehicle battery exports to the United States, South Korea, Malaysia and Poland increased their exports by more than 100 percent year on year. Malaysia and Poland are home to Samsung SDI’s and LG Energy Solution’s electric vehicle battery plants, respectively.
The battery supply from the United States is still tight. Last year, a number of electric vehicle batteries produced in the United States were exported to Canada and Mexico. This year, the United States’ electric vehicle battery exports are falling for the first time. At present, only Panasonic and LG Energy Solution are running large electric vehicle battery plants in the United States. SK Innovation’s plant in Georgia and the joint plant of GM and LG Energy Solution are scheduled to be put into operation next year.
South Korea exported US$828 million of batteries to the United States for the first five months of this year whereas the exports were US$810 million in 2010 as a whole. At present, batteries are South Korea’s eighth-largest export item behind automobiles, auto parts, ships and semiconductor chips. The ranking was 15th in 2019 and 10th last year.