France inaugurated the first of 4 gigafactories in the north


© Reuters. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire visits the huge factory of Automotive Cells Company (ACC), a joint venture of Stellantis, TotalEnergies and Mercedes, during the inauguration ceremony in Billy-Berclau-Douvrin, northern France, May 30 5 year 2023. REUTERS/Pascal Ros


BILLY-BERCLAU, France (Reuters) – France will inaugurate on Tuesday a gigafactory for battery production, the first of four such that European and Asian companies plan to build in the north of the land water.

The development of Automotive Cells Company, a joint venture between Stellantis, Mercedes and TotalEnergies, involves a total investment of 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) – with the French state and local governments providing almost half.

It highlights the race among European governments to attract global carmakers as they seek to bring the supply of components for electric vehicles closer to their key markets.

“ACC’s new factory marks an important milestone in Europe’s transformation to make the automotive industry more flexible, competitive and sustainable, including in the electric age,” said Ola. Källenius, CEO of Mercedes-Benz, said ahead of the inauguration.

The plant will start producing lithium-ion batteries later this year with an initial capacity of 13 gigawatt hours (GWh), which will later be increased to about 40 GWh, enough to power about 500,000 cars a year. Companies and regional governments say it is expected to help create up to 2,000 jobs by 2030.

Taiwan’s ProLogium and China’s Envision AESC also announced plans to build huge factories in the northern region of France around the port of Dunkirk, while renault (EPA:) has established a partnership with local startup Verkor in the same region to produce batteries for Alpine and premium electric vehicle models.

Europe is largely dependent on batteries made in Asia for electric cars, and national leaders are offering various incentives to kickstart the industry.

That has become more urgent since the US last year passed the $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which includes massive tax subsidies to cut carbon emissions while boosting manufacturing. and domestically manufactured.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has personally lobbied to secure at least one gigafactory in the Dunkirk region, has set a target of having 2 million electric vehicles built in France by 2030.

($1 = 0.9084 euros)

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