PSA and Total create JV for EV battery production

Automotive News Europe reports that PSA  and French energy company Total have signed an agreement to create a JV that will build battery cells at locations in France and Germany. 

The two companies have been working on the project since last year and announced the intent to form a joint venture in January.

PSA said Thursday that Yann Vincent, formerly head of industrial operations and supply chain, would be the CEO of the battery alliance, which will be called Automotive Cells Company, or ACC. 

Ghislain Lescuyer, the chairman of Total’s battery subsidiary Saft, will hold the same post at ACC.  

PSA and Total also released a number of details about the planned factories, which will be operational in 2023 and supply PSA Group vehicles from Peugeot, Citroen, DS Automobiles and Opel/Vauxhall -- and potentially cars from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is working toward a merger with PSA.

Batteries produced in the factories could eventually supply 1 million vehicles per year, PSA and Total said. 

One factory will be in Douvrin, France, and the other in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

PSA and Total have already set up an R&D centre in Bordeaux, France, and are building a pilot plant in Nersac, France. 

The sites will start operations with a total capacity of 8 gigawatt-hours, increasing to 48 by 2030, PSA and Total said.

The project has received financing of 1.3 billion euros from the French and German governments, with total investment expected to be 5 billion euros. 

PSA is working to create a vertically oriented supply chain for electric vehicles through partnerships. Transmissions will be built with Punch Powertrain of Belgium, and electric motors built in an alliance with Nidec of Japan.  

CEO Carlos Tavares has said that having control of the EV supply chain could result in cost savings of 10 percent, an important efficiency with electric vehicles expected to produce lower margins than internal combustion ones in the coming years. 

The battery joint venture "gives PSA Group a competitive advantage in the context of growing sales of electric vehicles," Tavares said in a statement on Thursday.