“Airbus for batteries”: France takes on a leading role


By 2025, Europe needs to be making enough batteries to equip at least 7 million EV a year.

The European Commission has approved two Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) involving batteries, for a combined value of €20 billion. Twelve member states are participating, with Germany and France in the lead. The projects should generate new value chains, with 63 different initiatives focused on cutting-edge innovation, and contribute to creating tens of thousands of new jobs in those twelve countries. In France, Saft, a subsidiary of Total, and PSA will be developing advanced lithium-ion batteries on a pilot industrial site in Nersac (near Angoulême).

Two giga-factories are better than one

There may well be not just one, but two EV-battery factories built in France within the next few years. For the moment, PSA and Total’s plan (via Total’s subsidiary Saft) to build a site in the Hauts de France region has attracted the most attention, but another project, whose industrial aims are actually complementary to the first one, is also in development. With the support, most notably, of Schneider Electric, promoters of the second project have founded Verkor, a company that aims to build a “giga-factory” capable of supplying France, Spain and Italy by late 2023, with 2,000 jobs created directly into the bargain.

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