PSA Group/Total moves forward with its battery cell joint venture. Two gigafactories coming in Europe.

PSA Group and Total officially created the Automotive Cells Company (ACC) joint venture , announced in early 2020 as an essential move to secure EV lithium-ion battery supply in Europe.

The €5 billion investments, supported by nearly €1.3 billion in public funding from the European Union, will result in two battery cell gigafactories - one in Germany and one in France - with initial output of 8 GWh each (the first starting in 2023) and the total output of up to 48 GWh annually (two 24 GWh) by 2030.

Total, with its battery subsidiary Saft, will contribute its expertise in R&D and industrialization, while the PSA Group to contribute its knowledge of the automotive market and its experience in production.

The initial phase of setting up the R&D centre in Bordeaux and the pilot site in Nersac, France (at existing Saft's facility) is already underway with the goal to develop "new high-performance lithium-ion technologies". The next step will be the battery factories in Douvrin (France) and Kaiserslautern (Germany).

Automotive Cells Company (ACC) plan:

  • the €200 million pilot plant to be launched in mid-2021 at Saft’s Nersac facility
    "The first phase of the project focuses on R&D, including building a pilot plant on the land of Saft’s Nersac facility. The plant is scheduled to start up in mid-2021 and represents an investment of 200 million euros. The project will generate around 200 high-skilled jobs in France’s Nouvelle-Aquitaine region to develop, qualify and commercially scale up new, high-performance lithium-ion batteries."
  • 8 GWh gigafactory to be built in Douvrin, in the northern Hauts-de-France region in France starting in 2023 (then expanded to 16 GWh and to 24 GWh)
  • 8 GWh gigafactory to be built in Kaiserslautern, in Rhineland-Palatinate state in Germany (then expanded to 16 GWh and to 24 GWh)
  • the total output to be 48 GWh by 2030 (2x 24 GWh)
    "This first phase will trigger the investment decision for a large-scale production plant (8 GWh initially, rising to 24 GWh later on) in the northern Hauts-de-France region, followed by a second one of equal capacity in Germany, in order to reach 48 GWh of combined capacity by 2030."

The PSA Group estimates that by 2030 it will need some 400 GWh of lithium-ion batteries (about 15 times the current market), and that the 48 GWh ACC plants will secure enough cells for roughly 1 million electric cars.

Carlos Tavares, Chairman of Groupe PSA said:

"The construction of the European battery consortium that we wished for is now a reality. I would like to pay special tribute to the commitment of the Total/Saft and Groupe PSA/Opel teams who have made this project come true. This new step is consistent with our central purpose: "to offer citizens clean, safe and affordable mobility" and gives Groupe PSA a competitive advantage in the context of growing sales of electric vehicles. ACC takes Groupe PSA further along the road to carbon neutrality."