Saft teams for French battery gigafactory

February 04, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
Saft teams for French battery gigafactory
The Automotive Cell Company (ACC) joint venture in France between Saft and car maker PSA will lead to a €1.3bn battery gigafactory

French battery maker Saft has teamed up with car maker PSA and Opel in a €1.3bn battery gigafactory joint venture.

The Automotive Cell Company (ACC) will use battery R&D from Saft to develop EV batteries for production starting in 2023. The technology aims to provide a longer range and shorter charging times for lithium ion batteris than the lithium competition, setting a new standard in Europe, says Saft. While it hasn't commented on the type of technology there are many replacement materials such as silicon anode technology that could provide such a boost. 

The announcement comes as Toyota and Panasonic launch their joint venture in China for primatic battery cells.

The first phase of the ACC project focuses on R&D with a pilot plant on the land of Saft’s Nersac facility. The €200m plant is scheduled to start operation in mid-2021 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 gigafactory with a capacity of 8 GWh, rising to 24 GWh, in the northern Hauts-de-France region. This will be followed by a second gigafactory of equal capacity in Germany, reaching 48 GWh of combined capacity by 2030. That would represent production of one million batteries a year, or around 10-15 percent of the European market. Ultimately, nearly €5 billion will be required to complete this ambitious program.

Total, which owns Saft, and Groupe PSA expect to get nearly €1.3bn from the French, German and European Union authorities for the project as part of the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) initiative authorized by the European Commission. However the second pahse is depends on securing the approvals of the relevant antitrust authorities but is part of a huge move to boost battery production in Europe. 

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