The Spanish state apparently wants to build a battery cell factory for electric cars as part of a public-private consortium with the Volkswagen brand Seat and the energy company Iberdrola.
The plant is to be built near Seat’s Martorell site near Barcelona, said Industry Minister Reyes Maroto at an event in Madrid, essentially confirming an earlier report The consortium is open to other members. A Seat spokesman would “not add anything” to the announcement when asked by news agency DPA.
“The Project will allow the development of a set of actions that guarantee that the necessary infrastructures, facilities and mechanisms exist in Spain to independently and competitively manufacture a complete connected electric vehicle,” Maroto said. He added that the government is committed “so that Spain continues to be a world leader in the automotive industry and focuses on sustainable mobility”. No timetable was set, however.
How much the Spanish state wants to invest in the battery factory is not clear from the current media reports. However, the money is said to come from the EU’s “Next Generation” programme, which is intended for economic reconstruction after the Corona pandemic.
However, the Industry Minister did not specify where exactly the battery factory is to be built. For some weeks now, it has been rumoured that the current Nissan plant in Barcelona will be converted for this purpose. The Japanese carmaker wants to close the plant at the end of 2021. Another possibility, according to Spanish media, is that battery production will be built directly at Seat’s Martorell plant in order to minimise the distances between battery and vehicle production.
According to the Spanish newspaper El País, the decision was preceded by lengthy negotiations at the highest level, with the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and VW CEO Herbert Diess allegedly negotiating in person. The negotiations are also said to have involved investment commitments on the part of VW and Seat.
Discussing exciting EV projects with @sanchezcastejon today. Spain can evolve into an e-mobility center of Europe! A real chance, but only realistic for Spain and VW if sufficient funding is also available for our projects @EU_Commission. #RecorveryFund #EUGreenDeal
— Herbert Diess (@Herbert_Diess) March 5, 2021
According to the newspaper, a new Seat model rumoured to be a small electric car is to be presented in Martotell on Friday in the presence of Sánchez and King Felipe VI. Seat had already announced in 2020 that it would build electric cars in Spain from 2025 at the latest. Rumours have recently persisted that this could be a spin-off of the VW ID.2, which is currently being developed by Volkswagen Anhui in China. First, the ID.2 and its Seat counterpart are to be produced in China for the global markets; from 2025, the two electric cars are also to be built in Europe – i.e. in Martorell.