France: Automotive Cells Total Partners with PSA and Opel to Build Pilot Plant for Battery Production

Editor: Alexander Stark

Total, through its affiliate Saft, and PSA with Opel, announced their plan to combine their know-how to develop EV battery manufacturing activity in Europe. To this end, the partners intend to establish a joint venture named Automotive Cell Company (ACC).

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Total plans to launch a pilot plant to manufacture European batteries for electric vehicles.
Total plans to launch a pilot plant to manufacture European batteries for electric vehicles.
(Source: Public Domain / Pixabay )

Paris/France — During French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the Saft Nersac plant near Angoulême, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, Total announced plans for the establishment of a European car battery manufacturing plant.

The project will leverage R&D, notably provided by the company Saft, in order to produce EV batteries starting in 2023. The technology used is to offer the highest level of energy performance, both in terms of range and charging time, and a lower carbon footprint than that of the competition, the company announced.

The first phase of the project focuses on R&D, including building a pilot plant on the land of Saft’s Nersac facility. The plant is scheduled to start up in mid-2021 and represents an investment of $ 221 million. The project will generate around 200 high-skilled jobs in France’s Nouvelle-Aquitaine region to develop, qualify and commercially scale up new, high-performance lithium-ion batteries.

This first phase will trigger the investment decision for a large-scale production plant (8 GWh initially, rising to 24 GWh later on) in the northern Hauts-de-France region, followed by a second one of equal capacity in Germany, in order to reach 48 GWh of combined capacity by 2030. That would represent production of one million batteries a year, or around 10-15 % of the European market. Ultimately, nearly $ 5.5 billion will be required to complete this ambitious program.

Total and Groupe PSA acknowledge the support of French, German and European Union authorities for the project, expected to receive nearly $ 1.4 billion in public funding during its development in the frame of the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) initiative authorized by the European Commission.