PSA/Opel and Total/Saft have signed an agreement for the creation of joint venture, Automotive Cells Company (ACC), with Yann Vincent appointed chief executive.

The parties are developing and manufacturing batteries for the automotive industry from 2023, with Ghislain Lescuyer made chairman.

Total/Saft will contribute its experience in R&D and industrialisation and PSA its knowledge of the automotive market, as well as its background in production. The R&D centre in Bordeaux and the pilot site in Nersac (France) have already started to develop the new new lithium-ion technologies.

At the end of the R&D phase, production is planned to be launched in two gigafactories, in Douvrin (France) and Kaiserslautern (Germany). 

The project aims to:

  • Respond to the challenges of energy transition by reducing environmental footprint of vehicles throughout the value chain to offer clean and affordable mobility to citizens
  • Produce batteries for electric vehicles that will be at the highest technological level in terms of energy performance, autonomy, recharging time and carbon footprint
  • Develop production capacity, essential to accompany the growth demand for EVs in a European market estimated at 400 GWh by 2030, that is, 15 times the current market
  • 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. It will represent 1m electric vehicles produced per year, that is, more than 10% of the European market
  • Position ACC as a major competitive player in supplying electric vehicle manufacturers

The project benefits from the financial support of French and German public authorities representing EUR1.3bn (US$1.5bn). It received the European institutions agreement through an IPCEI project. The whole project will mobilise an investment of more than EUR5bn.

"The construction of the European battery consortium that we wished for is now a reality," said PSA chairman, Carlos Tavares.

"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».

For his part, Total chairman, Patrick Pouyanné added: "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.

"Our ambition is to leverage the recognised 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."