Chinese battery manufacturer Envision AESC is said to be aiming for a battery factory at Renault’s Douai site in northern France that will offer an annual production capacity of 24 GWh by 2027 and 43 GWh by 2030 in several expansion stages.
The news was broken via several media reports citing insider and a report by the French authority Commission nationale du débat public (CNDP). According to the report, of the total capacity of 43 GWh, a good half – 24 GWh – will be reserved for future Renault electric models such as the electric Renault 5. The investment volume is said to amount to around 2 billion euros. The plans will probably be officially announced in a few days at an event hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Renault has also announced a digital event for coming Wednesday, which will focus on the manufacturer’s comprehensive focus on e-mobility. The Envision AESC battery factory in Douai is expected to complement the recently announced Renault ElectriCity mobility industry cluster. The new umbrella company will combine the electric car activities of the Douai, Maubeuge and Ruitz plants in northern France and build 400,000 vehicles per year from 2025.
Envision AESC is linked to Renault’s alliance partner Nissan. Nissan had sold its battery subsidiary AESC to Envision Group in 2018, but still holds a minority stake of 20 per cent. At the end of May, it was reported that Nissan plans to invest more than 200 billion yen (just under 1.5 billion euros) in battery factories for electric cars in the UK and Japan, together with Envision AESC.
Bloomberg reports that the partnership with Envision AESC is said to be part of a broader plan that could also see Renault take a stake in French battery start-up Verkor. Talks on a third battery deal are said to be underway with ACC; a subsidiary of Stellantis and Total. Representatives of all the companies mentioned declined to comment to the news agency. Currently, Renault buys its batteries from LG Energy Solution in Poland, among others.
According to the above-mentioned French authority CNDP, Douai is not yet fixed as the location for the battery factory. The coastal town of Dunkerque in northern France is also said to be in the running. The final choice will depend, among other things, on how quickly permits are granted and how the development prospects are assessed. Incidentally, all the sources mentioned only talk about the settlement of a “battery factory”. It therefore remains unclear whether it will be a plant for the production of battery cells or for the assembly of battery modules and systems. The former is to be assumed, since Envision AESC is known for the production of cells.