Nissan’s car plant in Barcelona that the carmaker announced last year would close, could be transformed into a battery production plant for electric cars to save thousands of jobs, according to a media report. There are said to be prominent interested parties already.
This was reported by Reuters, citing a source familiar with the matter. The Catalan regional government is said to be backing a project to build a battery production and recycling plant in the region. The project, called Battery Hub, could receive €6.8 billion in funding from Spain’s €140 billion share of the EU’s Covid 19 pandemic aid. But the government has not yet decided how the funds will be used.
According to the source, “many companies” already expressed interest, including LG Energy Solutions. LG Chem’s recently spun-off battery division could provide batteries from there for Volkswagen’s Seat brand, which plans to produce electric cars at its main Martorell plant near Barcelona from 2025. But Schneider Electric was also said to be interested, according to a source. Neither Schneider Electric nor LGES would comment on the information to Reuters.
Nissan had announced in May 2020, as part of the overall restructuring of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, that it would only operate the plant in Sunderland, UK, in Europe. The factory in Barcelona was to be closed, according to the current status in December 2021. Originally, the last Nissan was to be built in Barcelona already at the end of 2020, later this was postponed by one year – to give the authorities more time to find an interested party for the facilities.
According to the report, the decision for one of the current interested parties will also take into account how many jobs could be preserved. According to various media reports, Nissan last employed between 2,800 and 3,000 people in Barcelona.
A battery factory is apparently not the only option. “That’s one of the options that has been placed on the table but it’s not the only one,” Pere Aragones, Catalonia’s acting head of government, told the news agency. Electric vehicle production or “another project related to electric mobility” was also conceivable, he told Reuters. Names of interested parties in electric car production are not mentioned, however.
A task force formed by representatives of the government, trade unions and Nissan will accept proposals for the use of the facilities until 31 March.
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