France set to be home to €1.6bn gigafactory by 2023


France is set to be home to the EU’s latest battery gigafactory, following the announcement of a partnership between French industrial company Verkor, Schneider Electric, EIT Innoenergy and property company GROUPE IDEC to build an initial 16GWh capacity facility by 2023.

The project is expected to expand to 50GWh, that would lead to the creation of 2,000 new jobs in the country.

Verkor confirmed construction will start in 2022 and will require an initial investment of €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion).

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According to Verkor, the expected growth in demand for batteries in Europe within the next decade will require two to three Gigafactories in France alone.

According to a statement from the company: “The European industrial ecosystem is therefore compelled to establish a sustainable and indigenous European battery supply chain, which in turn will reduce reliance on imports. France’s affordable and low-carbon electricity, prominent automotive manufacturers, leading energy providers, and its demonstrated industrial prowess make it the ideal location for gigafactories in southern Europe, a region which falls short of such projects when compared to northern and central Europe.”

Benoit Lemaignan, the CEO of Verkor, commented: “Combined with the expertise of our strategic partners, I am confident that we are aligning the winning conditions to start the construction of a highly efficient manufacturing Gigafactory in 2022, to deliver our first cells in 2023, and stepping up of industrial activities, key to accelerating low carbon mobility in Europe.”

Christel Galbrun-Noel, Mobility Segment President at Schneider Electric, noted: “This brings together the best of energy management and industrial expertise to build green, competitive batteries as part of our commitment to helping the European transition to EVs.”

Diego Pavia, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy, said: “The first Verkor gigafactory will help bridge the gap between Europe’s planned demand and currently forecasted European supply in this decade.”

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