France to open first electric car battery factories over next 3 years
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, alongside France's Energy Transition and Industry Ministers, will attend the inauguration, along with German and Italian officials, and the heads of Mercedes, Stellantis, and TotalEnergies.
As part of French President Emmanuel Macron's "reindustrialisation" plan for France, a set of battery factories for electric cars is set to open in the country over the next three years.
The opening of the "gigafactory" in Billy-Berclau in France is owned by Automotive Cells Company (ACC), which is a partnership between French TotalEnergies, Germany's Mercedes-Benz, and US-European automaker Stellantis - the producer of brands including Peugeot, Fiat, and Chrysler.
French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire and France's energy transition and industry ministers will be present at the inauguration, along with German and Italian officials, the heads of Mercedes, Stellantis, and TotalEnergies.
The production is scheduled to begin in the summer of this year, as officials and business leaders are hoping to turn the region into "Battery Valley", to match the US' Silicon Valley.
This comes as Sino-Japanese group AESC-Envision is currently building a plant near the city of Douai in France, intended to supply French automaker Renault from 2025 while production at French startup Verkor is due to begin at a facility in Dunkirk from 2025 as well. Taiwan's ProLogium has also selected the coastal city for its first European factory, with production due in 2026.
Europe is racing to hasten its production of batteries and electric cars in light of the deadline set by the European Union of phasing out the sale of new fossil fuel cars by 2035.
So far, nearly 50 battery factory projects have been announced in the EU, and France set a production target of two million electric cars per year by 2030, according to the economy ministry.
The ministry said the ACC plant will be able to produce 500,000 cars per year by that time.
Currently, China leads the world in electric car battery production and controls producing the raw materials required to manufacture them. Last year, China accounted for over 60% of worldwide electric car sales and more than 50% of all-electric cars on the world's roads, with a total of 13.8 million.
The US is also a fierce competitor against Europe, since the former is implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, which consists of $370 billion in clean energy incentives.
Europe remained the world's second-largest electric car market, accounting for 25% of total electric car sales in 2022 and 30% of worldwide stock. New electric car sales in the US have surpassed one million, accounting for 10% of the worldwide sales increase.