The French automotive group PSA with its German subsidiary Opel and the French energy group Total with its subsidiary Saft have now signed an agreement to set up the Automotive Cells Company (ACC) joint venture.
With this joint venture, the partners intend to pool their expertise in the development and production of batteries for electric vehicles. As Opel CEO announced in February, the cells produced by the partners could also be offered to manufacturers outside of PSA. Total and Saft will contribute their know-how in research and development as well as in industrialisation, while PSA and Opel will contribute their knowledge of the automotive market and experience in production.
PSA manager Yann Vincent has been appointed CEO of the new company and will implement and develop the joint venture. The supervisory board will be headed by Ghislain Lescuyer from Saft, thus maintaining the balance between the two partners.
The research and development centre in Bordeaux and the pilot site in Nersac (France) have already started work to develop the new lithium-ion cell technologies. At the end of this R&D phase, it is planned to start mass production in two ‘gigafactories’ in Douvrin (France) and Kaiserslautern (Germany).
PSA says that the plant will have an “initial capacity of 8 GWh”, and both sites are expected to increase their cumulative capacity to 48 GWh by 2030. This corresponds exactly to the figures mentioned so far, according to which each of the plants is to reach a capacity of 24 GWh.
The project benefits from the financial support of the French and German authorities to the tune of 1.3 billion euros and has received the approval of the European institutions through an IPCEI project. The whole project will represent an investment of more than 5 billion euros.
“The construction of the European battery consortium that we wished for is now a reality”, says PSA CEO Carlos Tavares. “This new step is consistent with our central purpose: “to offer citizens clean, safe and affordable mobility” and gives Groupe PSA a competitive advantage in the context of growing sales of electric vehicles”. Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman of Total, added: “Our ambition is to leverage the recognised expertise of our subsidiary SAFT in batteries and the industrial know-how of our partner PSA to meet the strong growth of electric vehicles in Europe”.