Battery

SVOLT to build five battery cell plants in Europe

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The battery manufacturer SVOLT, which emerged from the Chinese carmaker Great Wall, is reportedly planning to build five battery cell factories in Europe. Two are confirmed for Germany so far.

The information from SVOLT was picked up by Bloomberg with reference to statements by Kai-Uwe Wollenhaupt, head of SVOLT Europe. According to the report, talks are said to be underway to supply carmakers in the region. According to the report, SVOLT hopes to conclude three deals by the middle of the year. In total, the company is aiming for a production capacity of at least 50 gigawatt-hours in Europe by the end of the decade, it says. That would be enough to power up to one million electric cars, it said.

“The battery industry in Europe is really taking off,” Wollenhaupt said. “We could develop our sites even faster if we had more resources like land and skilled workers available.”

SVOLT has already announced two sites in Germany, one of which will supply Stellantis from 2025. The conversion of an existing plant into a 12-gigawatt facility in Lauchhammer, Brandenburg, is currently underway. The start of construction of an announced 2-billion-euro factory in Saarland was recently postponed to at least 2027 due to local protests. At least SVOLT signed the lease for its future factory for the assembly of modules and packs at the Heusweiler site in Saarland in December. However, this does not fall under the potential five production sites in Europe where cells are to come off the production line.

Bloomberg writes that the company remains committed to the plans in Saarland and that SVOLT’s strategy is to target smaller production facilities that are less demanding on local resources. “We are not fans of huge factories,” Wollenhaupt is quoted as saying. Since there is often a lack of qualified labour in areas that offer sufficient industrial space. In addition, he says, water consumption is considerable, which can create a public headwind.

The company is said to be currently looking at sites in Eastern, Northern and Western Europe – including a larger site in the 20-gigawatt range.

Separately, SVOLT unveiled a battery pack innovation just before the end of the year that is designed to provide increased safety and enable greater range. The new ‘Dragon Armor Battery’ has been available for pre-order worldwide since December and is expected to be used in the first production models in 2023.

As with BYD’s Blade battery and CATL’s Qilin battery, SVOLT’s Dragon Armor Battery is not a new cell chemistry with higher energy density, but a newly designed battery pack. Depending on the chemistry of the cells used in the Dragon Armor Battery, ranges of over 800 kilometres (LFP) to over 1,000 kilometres (NCM) should be possible.

bloomberg.com

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