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07 Feb 2020, 12:55
Julian Wettengel

New Opel Gigafactory in Germany to be largest battery cell producer in Europe

Clean Energy Wire

German carmaker Opel, a subsidiary of French PSA, plans to manufacture enough battery cells for half a million e-cars annually in a new factory in western German Kaiserslautern from 2024. Opel revealed details of the planned factory at a press event and said up to 2,000 jobs would be created and two billion euros invested in the facility, which would house three units with a capacity of eight gigawatt hours each and be the largest in Europe so far. Economy minister Peter Altmaier, who attended the event to “highlight the strategic importance” of the plant, said: “There is the prospect that in a few years the production of battery cells, which we in Germany and Europe had thought lost for a long time, will return to this location.” The federal government plans to support the project with “a considerable three-digit-million-euro amount”, he said.

One week ago, France’s head of state Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s research minister Anja Karliczek had already given the official go-ahead for a battery cell pilot production in a factory of the manufacturer Saft in Nersac, southwest France. Another factory is planned in the French region Hauts-de-France. Germany and France have been keen to develop batteries in Europe in order to avoid becoming dependent on Chinese storage systems. The Commission had approved the project under state aid regulations in December 2019. The European Union allows state aid in certain conditions under its rules for Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI).

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