SVOLT will not build battery factory in Germany

Chinese battery manufacturer SVOLT will not set up a manufacturing site in the German state of Brandenburg. The company says it has reassessed its location strategy - and cannot resist taking a jab at German politicians, who make planning difficult.

Image: SVOLT

The company’s press release states: “In addition to an already low level of planning security at various levels – from the threat of international punitive tariffs to market distortions due to protracted and unevenly distributed subsidies,” a “significant customer project has also been cancelled.” In addition, ‘the renewed discussions about the end of the combustion engine in the EU are counterproductive to the planned localisation efforts.”

“The automotive market is currently struggling with considerable fluctuations and challenges all over the world, mainly driven by the transformation to electric mobility,” says Kai-Uwe Wollenhaupt, President SVOLT Europe & Senior Vice President of SVOLT Energy Technology Company Ltd. “It has led to some drastic strategy adjustments for some car manufacturers.”

SVOLT announced in September 2022 that it would set up another cell production facility for the European market – with a capacity of 16 GWh. The company had taken over a plant in Lauchhammer, about 150 kilometres south of Berlin, where Vestas previously produced blades for wind turbines. Production was to start at the beginning of 2025. The press release does not mention how much the company invested in the site before cancelling its plans. However, it has already paid for conversion work on the existing buildings and the installation of the battery production systems.

Cell production in Saarland continues to be delayed

However, it also means SVOLT won’t produce cells in Europe for quite some time. It does confirm that it will set up a manufacturing facility in Überherrn, in the German state of Saarland. However, SVOLT’s first European factory was initially supposed to be up and running by the end of 2023. But construction has been repeatedly delayed for various reasons.

And even now, there is no planning certainty and thus no progress. “The Überherrn municipal council’s resolution is still awaiting approval from the responsible ministry. In other words, planning permission has not yet been granted. In addition, lawsuits against the construction project have already been announced. Therefore, it is currently impossible to predict when we will have final legal certainty. However, legal certainty is an essential prerequisite and the basis for planning how to proceed. As soon as there is legal certainty, the next step is the final economic feasibility study. SVOLT Europe estimates that this process will still take some time. Any more precise information on the timeline would be purely speculative, as many things are outside the responsibility and sphere of influence of SVOLT Europe,’ the company explains – and emphasises that it currently has no “immediate obligations” at the site, as this is still the responsibility of Struktur Holding Saar (SHS).

It will, therefore, be several years before the company has its own cell production, but SVOLT intends to assemble battery modules and packs from imported cells in Europe soon. That will take place in Heusweiler, about 30 minutes northeast of the planned production site in Überherrn. According to SVOLT, the turnkey handover will be on 1 July.

“We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks for the support, cooperation and trust placed in us at both local and state level in Brandenburg and Saarland, as well as with our partners,” says Wollenhaupt. “Despite these developments, SVOLT remains committed to Europe. We will utilise all opportunities available to us to implement positive impulses for the economy and the environment together with our customers and partners.”

In addition to the location strategy, SVOLT also reassessed its sales model. The company wants to concentrate on the sale of customised battery systems for EVs (SVOLT supplies the LFP batteries for the Citroen e-C3 and its sister models, for example) and “place an additional focus on business areas in which standardised batteries and their systems can be used, which are easier to scale and quicker to implement.” That includes traction batteries for commercial vehicles, stationary energy storage systems and their battery cells, and applications in the non-automotive sector.

“We continue to see ourselves as an innovation partner to the automotive industry. However, the current market situation suggests diversification to secure our economic future in the medium term,” says Wollenhaupt. “This is a decisive step towards becoming more resilient to market fluctuations and, at the same time, making a significant contribution to the global energy transition. Adapting our sales orientation is therefore an investment in the future.”

Source: Info by e-mail; in German


about „SVOLT will not build battery factory in Germany“
Franz Josef Kruger
28.05.2024 um 21:38
I am not surprised
Matthew Door
03.06.2024 um 09:08
How come? Did Svolt come up with insane requests?

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