Renault says it will enter into two key technology enabling as it sets up a battery gigafactory in Douai, close to Renault ElectriCity, in a move that it claims will create nearly 4,500 direct jobs in France by 2030.
Renault says the latest step in the ‘Renaulution’ roadmap is secured through the signing of two major partnerships: with Envision AESC – a specialist in battery technology and smart, digitalised, low-carbon battery plants, and a long-standing partner of Nissan – and Verkor, a Grenoble-based startup specialised in the development of EV battery cells.
These latest partnerships go hand in hand with existing programmes within Renault Group, in particular the agreement with LG Chem which currently supplies battery modules for Renault’s electric range and for the upcoming MéganE.
In parallel, there are on-going discussions with ACC to potentially join the ecosystem as of 2027. Research also continues within the Alliance to deploy solid battery technology from 2030, with the ASSB project (All Solid-State Battery technology).
Luca de Meo, CEO of Renault Group, said: “Our battery strategy builds on Renault Group’s ten years of experience and investment in the electric mobility value chain. The latest strategic partnerships with Envision AESC and Verkor greatly bolster our position as we ensure the Europe-based production of one million electric vehicles by 2030. This marks a major milestone as we strengthen our competitive edge, by rooting our Group in the underlying momentum of French industry and striving to reach our carbon neutrality objectives. The Group thus reaffirms its willingness to produce popular, affordable, and cost-effective electric cars in France.”
Renault plans a gigafactory in Douai with a capacity of 9 GWh in 2024 and with aim of reaching 24 GWh by 2030. As the battery arm of global green tech company Envision Group, it will invest up to EUR2bn to produce latest technology, cost-competitive, low-carbon and safe batteries for electric models, including the future R5. Thanks to this partnership, Envision AESC forecasts 2,500 new jobs by 2030.
The proximity of the Envision AESC’s gigafactory to Renault ElectriCity production sites at Douai, Maubeuge and Ruitz, which will create 700 additional jobs in the Hauts-de-France region, means Renault Group can significantly boost its competitive edge and greatly improve the efficiency of its EV production chain, the company said.
Douai’s gigafactory opens the way for the production of low-carbon batteries as part of the objectives outlined in the European Green Deal and for the development of closed-loop recycling solutions for production waste and end-of-life batteries. In line with commitments made by the Renault Group, it will significantly contribute to achieving carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040 and worldwide by 2050, with EV sales making up 90% of all Renault brand sales by 2030.
Renault Group and Verkor: A pilot production line for high-performance batteries by 2022
In addition to its partnership with Envision AESC, Renault Group has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to become shareholder of Verkor with a stake of over 20% in the company and plans to join the consortium that was created around the French start-up in 2020. The consortium aims at tackling challenges relating to digitalisation, de-carbonisation, and the strengthening the French and European industries within the sector.
Renault Group and Verkor intend to develop jointly a high-performance battery suitable for the C and higher segments of the Renault range, as well as for the Alpine models. Together with the consortium, they will help create of more than 200 direct jobs.
The initial phases of the partnership will involve the financing of a R&D centre (Verkor Innovation Centre) and a pilot line for battery cell and module prototyping and production in France as early as 2022. The second phase will see Verkor moving forward to create the first gigafactory for high performance batteries in France, with an initial capacity of 10 GWh for the Renault Group from 2026, potentially rising to 20 GWh by 2030.
Cooperation between Renault Group and Verkor will be based on a common roadmap to reduce carbon emissions from battery manufacturing by 75% compared to traditional process, and to establish a supply chain that allows traceability and secures the availability of raw materials used in EV models.
Benoit Lemaignan, CEO of Verkor, said: “We are proud to be associated with Renault Group and look forward to delivering on our common vision of making e-mobility widely available, through this partnership. This is a major deal which demonstrates our progress along our roadmap to generate up to 50 GWh of battery cell production capacity by 2030 – a cornerstone in developing a competitive, sovereign and sustainable battery supply chain in Europe.”