Stellantis is apparently considering building a new battery factory in Italy. According to a media report, there have allegedly already been initial talks with the authorities about prerequisites and potential subsidies.
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So far, there have been initial talks with the Italian government about the basic conditions for battery production in the country and possible government subsidies. This information was provided by unnamed sources familiar with the matter, however.
However, the anonymous source stated that nothing had been decided yet. “Discussions are just at the stage of an exchange on the principle of creating a gigafactory in order to cover (Stellantis’) future needs,” he said. “These conditions will have to be studied with Italian authorities.”
Stellantis would not comment on the information to reporters. There has also been no comment from the government. According to Reuters, there was already a virtual meeting last week between Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, Chairman John Elkann and Italian Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti.
Following the merger of PSA and Fiat-Chrysler to form Stellantis, Italy is one of the group’s most important production locations, where vehicles of numerous group brands are built. According to the Reuters source, because of this production alone, there is a shared interest between the government and Stellantis management “to discuss the terms of a Gigafactory in Italy”.
In April, Stellantis had provided an update on the battery cell factories already planned in Douvrin in northern France and at the Opel site in Kaiserslautern, which are scheduled to start production in late 2023 and late 2025 respectively, and announced that it would decide on further battery factories in Europe and North America this year.
Stellantis plans to offer electric versions for almost all model series in Europe by 2025. By 2030, fully electric cars and hybrids are expected to account for 70 per cent of sales on the continent.
It would not be the first battery project in Italy: in February, the company Italvolt (as an offshoot of Britishvolt) had announced its intention to set up a 45-GWh cell production plant in Italy. Specifically, the plant is to be built in the municipality of Scarmagno near Turin.
Update 11 June 2021: The Italian government has earmarked 600 million euros of public money from the EU reconstruction fund for the factory, which is to have a capacity of 37 GWh and create 500 new jobs by 2030. With further investments from industrial and financial partners, total investments of more than one billion euros are planned, with Stellantis “playing a leading role”.
Stellantis’ top management has met with the Minister for Energy Transition, Roberto Cingolani, five times in recent months, writes Reuters, citing a ministry source. Managers of ACC – the joint venture that the then PSA group had concluded with Total (today: TotalEnergies) to build two battery factories in France and Kaiserslautern – are also said to have been present.
According to sources close to the government, the plan is a public-private partnership, abbreviated as PPP in English. However, one of the people also indicated that other models are being considered. The plan for the battery factory, however, needs a green light from Brussels to ensure that it is compatible with EU competition and state aid rules.
Italy is not yet sure of approval from Brussels. Spain, which is trying to revive its economy shaken by the Corona pandemic, is also seeking major battery projects and subsidies – something not only King Felipe but also VW and its subsidiary Seat have lobbied hard for. “There is a lot of competition … we have to offer a strong strategy and a credible team,” said a source close to the Italian energy transition ministry.