China’s Gotion High-Tech takes 25% stake in InoBat

Volkswagen partner Gotion High-Tech has acquired a 25% stake in the Slovakian battery company InoBat. Both companies had previously entered into collaborations in early 2023.

Gotion High-Tech has not disclosed the investment sum today. In a statement, InoBat called it a “landmark investment” and the first by a top-tier Chinese global battery maker in a European premier startup.

InoBat refers to the deal as the “Gotion-InoBat-Batteries (GIB) transaction” it prepared for over a year.

The partners aim to focus on localising the battery value chain, initially in Central and Eastern Europe and developing “green battery materials” in Morocco.

Li Zhen, Founder Chairman and CEO of Gotion High-Tech, emphasised that it was his “earnest desire that Gotion High-tech, alongside InoBat, extends the reach of its batteries worldwide. Moreover, I hope that Gotion High-tech can foster collaborations not only with InoBat but also with other renowned enterprises in Europe.” He added the aim was to develop and manufacture batteries “that will find their way into countless households in Europe”.

Gotion High-Tech is most renowned as a partner of Volkswagen; the German automaker has been the largest single shareholder in the company since 2021. Gotion is a technology partner for the PowerCo battery cell factory in Salzgitter and independently establishes its cell production facility in Göttingen. Hence, the collaboration with InoBat is not the Chinese company’s first European venture.

Marian Bocek, Co-founder and CEO of InoBat, said the company was “thrilled about GIB. Our partnership with Gotion High Tech heralds a new era of significant value creation through collaborative win-win alliances, helping to close the gap between Asian battery leaders and the rest of the world. GIB will unlock the full potential of Europe and our neighbours in the EMEA region in delivering localised Net Zero closed-loop circular battery value-chains for e-mobility and superior energy storage solutions.”

InoBat Auto specialises in customised battery cells. The company uses high-throughput screening (a method from pharmaceutical research) and artificial intelligence to identify the most suitable cell chemistry for each unique application. The Slovakian company has potential customers in the passenger car, commercial vehicle, motorsport, and aerospace sectors.

The Slovakian company plans a 100 MWh pilot production facility in Voderady and a 10 GWh factory starting in 2024. Manz will supply some of the production equipment. In early 2022, InoBat had already secured Ideanomics, a New York-based eMobility company, as an investor. At that time, other investors included Rio Tinto, Amara Raja, and the private arm of the World Bank, the IFC. The InoBat announcement does not reveal the shareholder structure following Gotion’s 25% stake.

In February 2023, InoBat and Gotion had already signed a letter of intent, which included potentially establishing a cell factory with 40 GWh annual capacity, preferably in Central or Eastern Europe. The memorandum of understanding also encompassed technical cooperation for LFP and NMC batteries and recycling concepts.

Despite the collaboration and some technical cooperation, both companies stressed in February that they would “maintain their independent businesses and chemistry.” Instead, they aimed “to develop new and exciting technologies in areas beneficial to both parties.” In concrete terms, InoBat seeks to benefit from Gotion’s expertise in electric storage solutions, while Gotion, in turn, seeks to leverage InoBat’s existing production facilities and market connections in Europe.


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