The forklift manufacturer Kion wants to set up its own factory for the production of lithium-ion batteries in Germany and has founded a joint venture with the Karlstein battery manufacturer BMZ Group to facilitate the process.
A spokesman for the BMZ Group confirmed this to German media sources. In the meantime, Kion also confirmed the report in a press release. By 2023, the joint venture called Kion Battery Systems will employ around 80 people, mainly in research, development and production.
Both companies are to each hold 50 per cent of the new company. From the second quarter of 2020, the first batteries are to be taken off the production line of the planned BMZ site in Karlstein. However, the cells for the German battery factory will come from Asia.
The batteries are to be used in Kion products. According to the report, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of forklifts is responding to the “rapidly growing demand for lithium-ion solutions in the logistics sector”. This is not only about battery-electric solutions, but especially about lithium-ion technology: Up to now, lead-acid batteries, which are inferior to lithium-ion cells in terms of charging times, service life and energy efficiency, have mainly been used in forklifts.
Kion is not alone in this project in the industry: Jungheinrich, number three in the industry after Toyota and Kion, also founded a joint venture with Triathlon Holding in February for the production and recycling of lithium-ion battery systems. The new company, JT Energy Systems, will soon start operations in the town of Glauchau, Saxony.