Svolt Energy Technology is to establish its EUR2bn (US$2.4bn) European battery cell production site in Germany, as announced at IAA, 2019.

A module and pack factory as well as a cell factory with 24 GWh production capacity in the final expansion stage, will be built at two Saarland locations.

In total, Svolt aims to create up to 2,000 jobs. Battery cells and modules and high-voltage storage systems (packs) will be produced in Germany.

As a spin-off from Chinese car manufacturer, Great Wall Motors, Svolt combines knowledge in the field of battery systems and management with experience in the field of vehicle integration. Svolt is able to offer its customers solutions at the battery cell, module and high-voltage storage system (pack) level, as well as corresponding software.

The company’s one-stop production portfolio includes battery cells and their cell chemistry, modules and high-voltage storage systems (packs) as well as battery management systems (BMS) and software solutions.

In addition to solutions which comply with current market standards, Svolt is working on development of new technologies and continued further development of existing technologies. With two large R&D centres in Baoding and Wuxi, China, as well as three R&D hubs, Svolt currently employs around half its 3,000 worldwide employees in the area of research and development alone and registered more than 550 patents in 2019.

Svolt maintains it is the first company to bring cobalt-free high nickel cell chemistry to mass production readiness. The company also employs a research and development team working in the area of solid-state batteries.

The cobalt-free nickel manganese battery cells achieve an energy density comparable to that of conventional high-nickel cells, but by doing without cobalt, are more sustainable, durable and more economical. The company plans to bring the first cobalt-free high-nickel battery cells installed in vehicles onto the market as early as mid-2021. The target segment is the mid-range volume market.

Battery cell production is planned to start at the end of 2023 and will be established near the Saarland town of Überherrn. In its final expansion stage, it will achieve a production capacity of 24 GWh, which corresponds to batteries for 300,000 to 500,000 electric cars per year.

The module and pack factory will be on an already industrialised site at Heusweiler, which will be retrofitted for module and pack production. Production is expected to start here by mid-2022.

The large-scale project will be implemented in cooperation between Svolt, the State Ministry of Saarland for Economic Affairs, Labour, Energy and Transport (MWAEV) and Strukturholding Saar (SHS). With its implementation concept, the MWAEV has entered into settlement talks. Svolt is commissioning SHS with the construction of the two factories as a turnkey project.

Svolt plans to establish 100 GWh battery cell production capacities worldwide by 2025. In addition to the plant in Germany, three plants are planned in the Asia Pacific region with an installed total capacity of 76 GWh. Svolt opened the first of the four planned cell factories in Jintan, China in November, 2019.

In addition, several module and pack plants are being created, depending on customer requirements.

A total investment of EUR8bn is expected worldwide and the company intends to employ around 10,000 people.

“The European automotive industry and the growing market for renewable energies are of great strategic importance,” said Svolt Energy Technology president & GM, Hongxin Yang.

“We have selected Saarland as our first European production site for Svolt’s products for a number of reasons: It is not only at the heart of Europe, but also represents a region of innovation and technology for the automotive industry.”

For his part, Saarland Prime Minister, Tobias Hans, added: “The car is one of the central pillars of Saarland as an industrial location.

“We want to be at the forefront of the structural change in the automotive industry and develop our Federal State into a cluster for innovation in Europe, especially in and for the automotive industry. We have a decisive advantage in terms of location: expertise and infrastructure.

“For us, it is about playing a leading role in the development of environmentally-friendly vehicles of the future. We are pursuing a sustainable and innovative mobility concept. In this way we can safeguard jobs as well as the attractiveness of Saarland as a place to live and work and at the same time ensure we maintain our leading position as a car State.”