The Swiss raw materials company Blackstone Resources intends to invest 200 million euros in the production of battery cells for electric cars, most likely in Germany. They hope the move will garner subsidies both from the Germans as well as the EU.
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As a first step, the company has now founded a German subsidiary, Blackstone Research GmbH. This subsidiary will continue the company’s battery research and drive the production project in Germany. The company plans to initially produce 100 million battery cells, enough for 25,000 to 100,000 electric car batteries, and to greatly increase these numbers in the future.
Blackstone is currently examining the most suitable location for production. “The aim is to manufacture the next generation of electric-vehicle batteries, close to where German auto manufacturers are based,” according to a statement by the Swiss. A possible candidate is the German city of Eisenach, about 50 kilometres from Erfurt, which is close to Opel (Eisenach) and the battery cell manufacturer CATL, that is currently building up its cell production in Erfurt as well. Another option for Blackstone would be to set up in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, near Volkswagen’s production facility.
One thing is clear: Blackstone has closely followed developments in Germany where the Minister for Economic Affairs, Peter Altmaier is pushing for the very ambitious EU target of gaining a 30% share of battery production globally. For its part, Volkswagen is prepared to invest heavily in battery research, development and production.
The core business of Blackstone Resources is battery metals and the development of refineries. Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Baar in the canton of Zug, the company went public on the Swiss stock exchange in July 2018.
Update Wednesday 21 October 2020: Blackstone Resources has now announced the location for planned cell production: As of 1 November 2020, Blackstone Technology GmbH will begin operations in the Am Fuchsbau industrial park in the town of Döbeln in the German federal state of Saxony.
The industrial building comprises over 6,000 square meters of production, storage and office space. The area is sufficient for a production capacity of 0.5 GWh per year. This will provide the technical basis for the building’s 3D printing technology to be used in series production. In the near future, the first production systems are to be assembled so that pre-series production can start in summer 2021.
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