China’s Envision Invests In French EV Battery Factory

A French politician said at least 1,000 new jobs could be created by an investment by China’s Envision AESC into a factory for electric vehicle batteries in northern France.

Xavier Bertrand, of the opposition Les Republicains party, said the number of jobs created could reach 2,500 in the longer term, AFP reported.

Envision is said to be investing around 2 billion euros (£1.72bn), according to several media reports.

More details on the deal are expected to be announced by French president Emmanuel Macron at an event on Monday.

A Renault 5 EV prototype. Image credit: Renault

Electric vehicle hub

Envision is to invest the funds with Renault to create a battery factory for a future electric-vehicle manufacturing hub in northern France.

The battery factory is expected to be at Douai, with a capacity of 43 gigawatt-hours by the end of the decade, with just over half earmarked for Renault, according to Bloomberg, which cited unnamed sources.

Renault is creating a hub called “ElectriCity” by pooling three of its plants in the area, from Douai, Ruitz and Maubeuge, which aims to produce 400,000 vehicles a year by 2025.

The investment from Envision is part of a broader strategy that could see Renault take a stake in French battery startup Verkor, Bloomberg said.

European carmakers are racing to secure adequate battery supplies for an expected growth in electric vehicles as petrol-based cars are phased out.

Renault’s Zoe electric vehicle. Image credit: Renault

Battery rush

Porsche and Volvo Car Group last week announced plans to produce batteries, and Volkswagen in March announced a multi-billion euro plan for six European battery factories.

Peugot maker Stellantis said it would update its EV strategy for investors in July.

Renault partner Nissan sold a controlling stake in its AESC battery operations to Envision in 2018 but retained a 20 percent holding.

Renault currently buys batteries from LG Energy Solution in Poland for its Zoe model, expected to continue for next year’s Megane EV lineup.

The new factory could produce batteries for vehicles that are further down the road, such as the Renault 5 EV, which was presented as a concept in January and is intended to reach the market in 2025.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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