The French battery specialist Verkor has raised 100 million euros from investors. Among other things, the money is to be used to build up battery cell development and production in France, which Verkor recently agreed with Renault.
It is therefore not surprising that Groupe Renault is among the five backers of the current financing round – together with EQT Ventures, the French led the financing round, according to Verkor. EIT InnoEnergy, Groupe IDEC, Schneider Electric, Capgemini, Arkema, Tokai COBEX and the Demeter-managed Fund for Ecologic Modernization of Transport (FMET) also participated in the round. The funders also include the French government and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
With the 100 million euros, the company wants to start the construction of the ‘Verkor Innovation Center’, “where the advanced battery cells and cell modules will be developed”. The VIC is to be built in Grenoble and go into operation in 2022. The site will house a pilot line for battery cell production, an R&D centre, testing facilities, module prototyping and a training centre.
The construction of the VIC comes as no surprise, after all it was announced at the end of June when Renault confirmed a cooperation with the French start-up. At the time, it was said that Renault would take a 20 per cent stake in Verkor – a figure that is no longer mentioned in the start-up’s current announcement.
In exchange, Verkor reaffirms the goals it stated when the company was founded in 2019, namely to reach a production capacity of 16 GWh by 2024; according to the current announcement, 50GWh+ should already be reached by 2030. Verkor has not yet named a location for this, although construction is due to start in 2022. According to earlier reports, the focus is more on the south of France.
Partner Renault plans to purchase 10 GWh from 2026, and this could rise to 20 GWh by 2030. Renault plans to use Verkor’s high-performance cells in the electric Alpine models and in Renault vehicles in the C segment and upwards. For smaller vehicles – such as the Renault 5 – the carmaker will rely on lower-cost NMC cells from Envision AESC, to be built at a planned factory near Renault’s Douai plant – in northern France.
“Our new shareholding structure totally reflects our ambition: an end-to-end approach to battery manufacturing, each of us focusing on what we do best, while cross-fertilising our expertise,” says Verkor CEO Benoit Lemaignan. “Our new shareholding structure totally reflects our ambition: an end-to-end approach to battery manufacturing, each of us focusing on what we do best, while cross-fertilising our expertise.”