According to insiders, SVOLT, the battery cell manufacturer that emerged from the Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall, has received a large order from the French PSA group. SVOLT will supply PSA with battery cells with a total capacity of more than 7 GWh.
The news site ChinaPEV reported the deal referring to persons familiar with the processes but so far an official confirmation has not yet been forthcoming. Apparently, the batteries concerned will not only be used in vehicles for the Chinese market but worldwide.
SVOLT already announced earlier this year that it had received an order from Europe for seven GWh. At that time, Audi, BMW or Daimler were named as possible customers in addition to PSA. If the information in the current report is correct, however, it is likely to be PSA.
Apart from the agreed cell chemistry – since SVOLT has already announced cobalt-free lithium-ion cells) – what is remains unclear is when the supply of battery cells will begin and in which plants the cells will be produced. SVOLT currently has a plant in Changzhou, the first stage of which will go into operation in autumn 2019 with a capacity of four GWh. Later the plant is to be expanded to 18 GWh.
Overall, the fast-growing company plans to have a global production capacity of 100 GWh. 76 GWh is to be installed in China. While earlier reports had mentioned that cell factories were planned in both North America and Europe, ChinaPEV now writes of a 24 GWh battery factory. In addition to the actual cell factory, SVOLT also plans to build a cathode material plant and a research centre in Europe.
The project is said to amount to two billion euros. The report gives no indication of where in Europe the factories will be built, although more information on this could soon be available: The project is to start this year and the first production stage is to be operational in 2022.
If PSA is indeed the major customer from Europe, several possible countries for operations would appear to come into question. The Group operates plants in France, Germany, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and, through the joint venture with Toyota, also in the Czech Republic, although Toyota will take over the factory completely from 2021.
PSA currently procures its battery cells from the South Korean company LG Chem and the Chinese supplier CATL. PSA has already set up its own battery assembly facility at the Slovakian plant in Trnava, where the Peugeot e-208, among other vehicles, is built. In Vigo, Spain, it is also planned to assemble battery packs from bought-in cells.
PSA is also part of an EU-funded project with its German subsidiary Opel, in which cell factories are to be built in France and Kaiserslautern together with battery manufacturer Saft, which is part of the Total Group.