Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean



PSA and Total start manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles

The pilot plant in Charente will be used to validate the process (photo: PSA)
The pilot plant in Charente will be used to validate the process (photo: PSA)
FRANCE. PSA and Total officially announced, on the evening of Thursday 3 September 2020, the creation of a joint subsidiary which will build a pilot plant for the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles at Nersac in Charente for an investment of €200 million. The R&D centre will be located in Bordeaux.

Named ACC (Automotive Cells Company) with a 50/50 capital stake between the car manufacturer PSA (via Opel) and Saft (a 100% Total subsidiary specialising in the design, manufacture and marketing of electric batteries), it was authorised in February 2020 by the European Commission. Yann Vincent takes over as CEO and Ghislain Lescuyer becomes Chairman of the Board of Directors.

"This new step is consistent with our raison d'être: to offer citizens clean, safe and affordable mobility and gives the PSA Group a competitive advantage in a context of growing sales of electric vehicles. ACC takes the PSA Group forward on the road to carbon neutrality," comments Carlos Tavares, Chairman of the PSA Group's Management Board. For Patrick Pouyanné, CEO of Total, "the creation of ACC illustrates Total's commitment to meet the challenge of climate change and to develop as a multi-energy group, a major player in the energy transition, by continuing to provide our customers with safe, economical and clean energy".

One plant in France and another in Germany

The pilot plant will launch its industrial phase mid-2021 and should begin production in 2023-2024. If successful, the joint venture will eventually have two other plants for mass production: the first will be located in Douvrin in France and the second in Kaiserslautern in Germany. By 2030, they would have a cumulative capacity of 48 GWh of batteries per year, corresponding to the production of one million electric vehicles, i.e. 10% of the European market.

"This ambitious project (...) pools the expertise of each partner to develop and produce batteries with the best performance level in the world," underlines a joint press release from the two groups.

ACC is going to invest €5 billion in this project, including €1.3 billion of French and German public support.

Frédéric Dubessy

Friday, September 4th 2020

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