Supermajor Total continues to invest in clean energy by creating a joint venture with automaker Groupe PSA to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles in Europe—a project expected to mobilize investment of more than US$5.9 billion (5 billion euro).
Total, via its subsidiary SAFT, will contribute to the project with industrialization and research and development (R&D) expertise, while PSA will contribute its automotive production experience, the French oil giant said in a statement.
An R&D center in Bordeaux and a pilot site in Nersac, France, have already launched work to develop new high-performance lithium-ion technologies. The companies plan to launch mass production after the R&D phase ends at two gigafactories in Europe, one in Douvrin, France, and one in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
The joint venture plans to “ensure industrial independence in Europe for the conception and manufacture of batteries, with an initial capacity of 8 GWh, reaching a cumulative capacity of 48 GWh on both sites by 2030,” Total said.
The new joint venture, Automotive Cells Company (ACC), has received financial support from the French and German authorities and is expected to begin manufacturing batteries from 2023.
“The creation of ACC illustrates Total’s commitment to meet the challenge of climate change and to develop as a broad energy company, a major player in the energy transition, by continuing to provide affordable, reliable, and cleaner energy,” Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman of Total, said.
“Our ambition is to leverage the recognized expertise of our subsidiary SAFT in batteries and the industrial know-how of our partner PSA to meet the strong growth of electric vehicles in Europe,” the executive added.
Apart from EV batteries, Total has been heavily investing in solar projects and storage systems in recent years.
The announcement for the upcoming gigafactories from European companies came just as Elon Musk was visiting Gigafactory Berlin to see how work on Tesla’s first Gigafactory in Europe was progressing.
“Great trip to Germany. Support from government & people is super appreciated!” Musk said on Thursday.