Oil major Total and French automobile manufacturer Groupe PSA recently signed an agreement for the creation of Automotive Cells Company (ACC), a joint venture for lithium-ion battery production in Europe.

With this new partnership, the two companies hope to set up a world-class player in the supply of high-performance batteries for the automotive industry starting 2023.

“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,” said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman of Total. “I would like to offer my encouragement to the teams who will be joining ACC to make this adventure a real European technological and industrial success.”

According to the official announcement, Total will contribute its expertise in R&D and industrialization while Groupe PSA will contribute its knowledge of the automotive market and its experience in production. The R&D center in Bordeaux and the pilot site in Nersac, France have already started to develop the new high-performance Li-ion technologies.  At the end of this R&D phase, mass production could be launched in two gigafcatories in Douvrin, France, and Kaiserslautern, Germany.

The new JV which benefits from the financial support of French and German public authorities representing €1.3 billion aims to respond to the challenges of the energy transition by reducing the environmental footprint of vehicles by producing batteries that will be at the highest technological level in terms of energy performance, autonomy, recharging time and carbon footprint.

It also aims to develop production capacity, essential to accompany the growing demand for EVs in the EU market, estimated at 400 GWh by 2030, i.e. 15 times the current market. It also aims to bring industrial independence in Europe for the conception and manufacture of batteries, with an initial capacity of 8 GWh, a cumulative capacity of 48 GWh on both sites by 2030.

Yann Vincent has been appointed Chief Executive of the new venture and Ghislain Lescuyer as Chairman of the Board.

“The construction of the European battery consortium that we wished for is now a reality,” said Carlos Tavares, Chairman of Groupe PSA.  “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.”

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