Another startup is raising significant funds to build a battery gigafactory for a car partner.
Verkor, established in Grenoble, France, just last year, has raised €100m from Renault as part of the plan for batteries from 2030. BritishVolt is in a similar position, planning a Gigafactory in the north east UK. ACC, a joint venture of Total and Stellantis, is aiming to build battery gigafactories in France and Germany. All these are chasing NorthVolt which is building gigafactories in Sweden and Germany through a deal with VW.
The Verkor funding from Renault will be used to build an R&D facility, the Verkor Innovation Centre (VIC), and a pilot line for high-performance battery cells and intelligent manufacturing. The company plans to have a factory making 50 GWh of batteries a year by 2030
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The funding was led by EQT Ventures and Renault Group, with participation from the French Government and the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region
Also participating in the round were EIT InnoEnergy, Groupe IDEC, Schneider Electric, Capgemini, Arkema, Tokai COBEX and the Fund for Ecologic Modernisation of Transport (FMET) managed by Demeter
Verkor plans to have battery cell manufacturing capacity of 16 GWh in 2024, scaling to +50 GWh by 2030. The VIC in Grenoble will be operational in 2022 with the pilot line for battery cell manufacturing, a R&D centre, testing facilities, module prototyping, and provide training for a new generation of engineers and technicians.
“We are honoured to have shareholders of such a high quality on board with us. I want to thank our team for what we have achieved together in less than a year of existence,” said Verkor’s CEO Benoit Lemaignan at a singing ceremony in Paris. “Our new shareholding structure totally reflects our ambition: an end-to-end approach to battery manufacturing, each of us focusing on what we do best, while cross-fertilising our expertise.”
“I welcome this new partnership which is another building block in the industrial and technological ecosystem for batteries in France and in Europe. With the automotive industry facing unprecedented challenges, the investments we make today will turn into tomorrow’s jobs,” said Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the French Minister of Industry. “We are supporting Verkor’s growth through CORAM, the French orientation committee for automotive and mobility research, which is financed by the French future investment programme, the PIA. Our goal is to accelerate the development of innovative digital processes for battery cell manufacturing, which will be implemented in the future Gigafactory.”
Also present at the ceremony was Maroš Šefčovič, the EU Commission’s VP for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight: “This partnership is yet another proof that the European Battery Alliance is making real difference on the ground,” he said. “In three years, Europe has become a global hotspot for battery investment, showing that we can achieve open strategic autonomy in this key industrial sector. None of this would have been possible without the dedication and collaboration of all actors, including our innovative industrial actors and our Member States.”
Arkema supplies high-performance specialty materials while Tokai COBEX is speciality manufacturer of low carbon, ultra-efficient battery anode materials.
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