Battery cell consortium to lay plant foundation stone in France in 2019

20 September 2019

Battery cell consortium to lay plant foundation stone in France in 2019

20 September 2019

Germany’s Economics Minister Peter Altmaier and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire have announced details of a Franco-German battery cell consortium at a joint press conference after a meeting of the German-French Economic and Financial Council in Paris.

The foundation stone for a pilot plant in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in the southwest of France will be laid before the end of 2019, with two factories for the series production of battery cells to be built in the first half of the 2020s. The plant in France will have about 2000 employees, with series production planned for 2022. This will be followed by the start of series production at a plant in Germany from 2024.

Altmaier praised the project as an example of German-French cooperation, saying ‘we are very confident that this example shows that market-oriented industrial policy works together with companies even today.’

State subsidies

France and Germany asked the European Commission to approve state subsidies for a cross-border battery cell consortium back in April. The plans involve PSA Group and its German subsidiary Opel, as well as Saft, owned by energy company Total, with the aim to build battery factories in time for the expected boom in electric vehicles in Europe.

Saft, a 100-year-old French company, produces a range of batteries for industrial applications. It has joined forces with German industrial group Siemens, electronic components specialist Manz, Belgian chemicals group Solvay and Belgian material group Umicore to develop a new generation of batteries for electric vehicles.

An estimated €1.7 billion has been earmarked by the two countries to support company alliances that would reduce the dependence of European carmakers on Asian suppliers and protect jobs as the industry shifts away from the internal combustion engine.