Toyota & SK Nexilis to produce copper foils in the USA
Toyota wants to set up a joint venture with SK Nexilis for the production of copper foils for the anodes of electric car batteries in North America. The company has revealed the division of tasks but not yet further details of investment, schedule and location.
Under the joint investment, SK Nexilis would be responsible for copper foil production, while Toyota’s trading company Toyota Tsusho plans to attract battery manufacturers in North America to purchase the foils. This is how SK Nexilis parent SKC describes it in a statement published in Korean. The chemical company SKC, in turn, belongs to the conglomerate SK Group, as does the battery manufacturer SK On.
A memorandum of understanding was signed, according to which both companies are examining the establishment of a joint venture. Both companies have the clear intention to cooperate in the production and supply of “copper foil products with the desired excellent physical properties” and supply potential customers in North America.
The two partners expect battery production in North America to grow “explosively” from 2025 onwards. At the same time, local copper foil production in North America is less than 1,000 tonnes per year, so Toyota Tsusho and SK Nexilis expect that there will quickly be supply bottlenecks for copper foil – which they then want to serve with their own production.
However, since the joint venture has not even been formally established, there is not yet much information about the scope of the project. The South Korean company only confirmed the goal of establishing a global production system with an annual production capacity of 250,000 tonnes. In addition to its North American plants, the company has sites in Malaysia (start-up 2023) and Poland (2024).
The two companies also agreed to cooperate on the supply of battery raw materials. However, SK Nexilis will probably be responsible for procuring the required copper raw materials. Toyota Tsusho is already active in the lithium business in Argentina.