Six consortia have so far submitted applications for funding to set up battery cell production in Germany. These include prominent names such as BASF, VW, PSA, BMW and Northvolt. Meanwhile e.Go-Mobile CEO Günther Schuh is leaving the consortium that wants to bring a cell factory to Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region.
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German media sources reported as much with reference to a spokesman of the ministry. Companies and consortia can still submit their project ideas until Friday. Then the application deadline ends.
Last November, Economics Minister Peter Altmaier promised one billion euros for the construction of a battery cell production facility. This was followed last month by a call for proposals. According to the BMWi, the aim of the call is to forge an alliance with other European countries to produce battery cells of the latest generations. Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier said, “We need competitive, innovative and environmentally friendly battery cell production in Germany and Europe. Our own know-how in this part of the value chain is crucial for the future market success of our companies. That is why we will support entrepreneurial initiatives.” Only recently, the French government also pledged to contribute 700 million euros.
Peter Altmaier wants to supply around 30 per cent of the world’s battery cells through German and European production by 2030. But what does that actually mean in terms of factories? Electrive.com made an example calculation according to the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy.
Meanwhile e.Go-Mobile boss Günther Schuh is leaving the consortium that wants to bring a German cell factory to North Rhine-Westphalia. “We had hoped that the advance announcements of various partners would be followed by action. But unfortunately, it has so far remained with non-binding commitments”, Schuh told the German industry newspaper Handelsblatt. However, the BMZ Group explained that, together with StreetScooter and TerraE, they would still stick to the plan and submit an application for funding.
For the first step, 250 million is needed to set up the production in order to realise a production volume of one gigawatt. Over three steps, production is to be increased to eight gigawatts over several years with a total investment volume of 1.2 billion euros, whereby BMZ has already pledged a larger sum. StreetScooter and e.GO Mobile also wanted to contribute hundreds of millions of euros. However, Günther Schuh explained to the Handelsblatt that the company would continue to support the project if strong partners could still be found.
In other news from BASF, the chemical company is considering the construction of a new production facility for lithium cathodes at the Schwarzheide site in Lusatia. This would be an investment in the three-digit million range and thus the second production plant for battery materials after the plant in Finland. A final decision has not yet been made.
Update 16.03.2019: Varta has also applied for funding from the Federal Ministry of Economics for the mass production of battery cells for electric cars. The application deadline expired on Friday. The official announcement of the victorious consortia is likely to take some time: project outlines are now being examined by the Ministry of Economics, which could take a few weeks, as a spokesperson told reporters.
Update 25 March 2019: Swiss Blackstone Resources announced its intention to invest 200 million euros in the production of battery cells for EVs in Germany in January. Blackstone has now disclosed that it also made a bid for the funding outlined above, as they had planned to do.
Update 30 January 2020: BASF has now applied for a building permit for its planned cathode plant in Germany. BASF’s Schwarzheide site in Lusatia is near the planned Tesla Gigafactory in Brandenburg, Germany. BASF explained, “With the application for approval to build and operate a plant for the production of battery materials, BASF Schwarzheide GmbH is preparing to start construction work promptly in the event of a positive decision by the Board of Executive Directors.”
handelsblatt.com (funding applications, in German), handelsblatt.com (Günther Schuh, in German), lr-online.de (BASF), handelsblatt.com (update 16.03., in German), blackstoneresources.ch (update Blackstone), sueddeutsche.de (update BASF, January, in German)