Saft has invested €5 million in the Zhuhai site in order to double production capacity of primary lithium cells from 30 million to 60 million per year (by Q3 2016). The space dedicated to rail batteries has grown five-fold to 2,000 m² and areas have been reserved for future growth into energy storage and electric vehicle markets.
“The opening of this new facility in Zhuhai represents a new milestone in the implementation of our long-term growth strategy in Asia, and illustrates our success and our ambitions in this region. By offering reliable, high-quality products which meet growing structural needs, notably in key markets like smart meters and rail transport, we are wholly fulfilling our role as solutions provider to leading Chinese groups, to whom we have now become a key partner,” said Ghislain Lescuyer, Chairman of Saft's Management Board.
Built in 2006, Saft’s first facility in Zhuhai initially produced primary lithium batteries in different sizes for the metering market in China. Since then it has enlarged its business scope to include the assembly of nickel-based battery systems for the Chinese rail market. In 2014, the facility passed the 100 millionth primary lithium battery milestone. Even with a production capacity of 30 million lithium batteries per year and several capacity extensions, the facility has found it challenging to meet customer demands in recent years.