January 31 (Renewables Now) - French oil-and-gas major Total SA (EPA:FP), through its battery manufacturer Saft, has partnered with car maker Group PSA (EPA:UG) and its German unit Opel Automobile GmbH to set up a joint venture (JV) that will develop and produce batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).
The four companies have set out to deploy nearly EUR 5 billion (USD 5.5bn) in investments to launch a research and development (R&D) facility at first and large-scale battery production by 2030, Total announced on Thursday.
The new JV, named Automotive Cell Company (ACC), will be split 50/50 between Saft on one side and PSA and Opel on the other in the pilot production phase of the undertaking. Once the commercial production phase starts, Saft will reduce its stake in ACC to 33%.
The JV's first task will be to build a pilot plant at Saft’s facility in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, France, and focus on R&D. The plant, which will pull an investment of EUR 200 million, is expected to be ready to develop new lithium-ion EV batteries in mid-2021.
The pilot plant will serve as the basis for the investment decision for two large-scale production facilities, one in the Hauts-de-France region and another one in Germany. Each of these plants will have the capacity to produce 8 GWh in the initial stage, rising to 24 GWh by 2030. Their combined capacity of 48 GWh per year translates into one million batteries, or around 10% to 15% of the European market, Total said.
The companies expect to secure close to EUR 1.3 billion in public funding from the French, German and European Union authorities.
(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.105)