The Slovakian company InoBat Auto has provided further details of its planned research and production of electric car battery cells in cooperation with the US technology company Wildcat Discovery Technologies.
After the Bratislava-based company received a commitment of five million euros from the Slovakian government in February 2020, InoBat Auto has now secured a further ten million euros. The fresh capital comes from, among others, the energy supplier CEZ Group, which is leading the current financing round.
The company has also said that a loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) is currently being examined. The company aims to use the freshly-collected capital to build a 100-MWh production line in Slovakia. InoBat acquired the former TV factory in Voderady in June. The construction of the pilot production is to begin before the end of this year, and the first cells are to be produced from 2021. From 2024 InoBat Auto plans to build a 10 GWh factory.
A research and development centre will also be built in Voderady. InoBat Auto basically wants to use the technology from Wildcat Discovery Technologies. The aim is to use artificial intelligence to find the best cell chemistry for the respective customers and to produce the cells according to the performance requirements of the car manufacturers. In the 10-GWh-“Gigafactory”, “innovative and customized batteries” for up to 240,000 cars are to be produced.
With this kind of plant, InoBat enters the ranks of the battery production of LG Chem in Wroclaw, Poland. By 2024, however, the cell production of Saft and Opel in France and Kaiserslautern in Germany is also to run at 24 GWh per year each. The joint venture of VW and Northvolt also plans to produce cells in Salzgitter from the turn of the year 2023/2024, with up to 16 GWh per year, just to name just a few projects.
The announcement does not indicate the number of shares the CEZ Group will receive for its 10 million euro investment. So far InoBat had named the IPM Group and technology partner Wildcat as leading investors. The CEZ Group consists of more than 100 individual companies and, according to its own statements, is the largest energy supplier in the Czech Republic. The conglomerate is also active in other countries in Central and Eastern Europe. According to the company’s website, projects are also under development in Germany and France.
“The governments of Czech Republic and Slovakia announced a partnership in electromobility, and this is one of the projects that fulfils this initiative,” says Pavel Cyrani, Vice Chairman of CEZ Group. Both Slovakia and the Czech Republic have several car factories and are trying to maintain these factories and jobs with the transition to electromobility. According to Cyrani, another such gigafactory could be built in the Czech Republic, while the mining of lithium in Krušné Hory, the Czech part of the Ore Mountains, is also conceivable.
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