Saft teams with French car maker for European battery gigafactory

May 02, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
A consortium of French car maker PSA and the battery manufacturer Saft are looking to develop a European battery gigafactory.
French battery maker Saft has teamed up with maker PSA to develop a European battery gigafactory.

The site under discussion for the high volume production plant, or battery gigafactory, formerly belonged to car maker Opel in Kaiserslautern (Germany) before being taken over by PSA. The deal has key backing from the French and German governments.

The plans currently being discussed in the economic ministries of France and Germany provide for large-scale and sustainable battery production, say reports. These plans have now been submitted to the EU Commission. Today, 2 May, the Economics Ministers of the two countries, Bruno Le Maire and Peter Altmaier, intend to coordinate each the further action.

Last November the German government announced that it would provide €1bn for the development of battery cell production to compete with the battery gigafactory developed by Tesla in the US. According to the German Federal Ministry of Economics, the goal is to establish an alliance with other states to manufacture battery cells of the latest generation. This is based on the assessment that the European automotive industry will need competitive and innovative battery cell production in order to be able to keep pace with electromobility on a global scale. "Own know-how in this part of the value chain is crucial for the future market success of our companies," said Peter Altmaier. According to the reports, the French government intends to support the establishment of this initiative with €700m.

Opel did not want to comment on the reports. "Groupe PSA welcomes the approach of establishing battery manufacturing in Europe," explained the German PSA subsidiary.

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