Croatian EV batteries start-up Rimac Automobil is set to race into the battery manufacturing fast lane in a multi-million-dollar deal with Camel, one of China’s leading lead-acid firms, BBB has confirmed.
A spokesperson for Zagreb-based Rimac told BBB negotiations are under way but declined to give details.
Both companies are staying tight-lipped about the deal— which according to one Chinese media report would see the firms invest a total of nearly $160 million in opening a joint venture batteries and car manufacturing plant in central China’s Hubei province.
Rimac, whose products include battery packs and battery management systems for the automotive, nautical and bicycle markets, told BBB: “We would like to give some time for the project to progress before announcing it officially with more details. You will be notified… once we decide to get into details of the project.”
BBB understands Rimac could hold a 40% stake in the joint venture— which would build the factory in in central China’s Hubei province. Camel did not respond to requests for comment.
However, if the project goes ahead, it would ramp up business ties between the unlikely partners— following Camel’s EUR30m ($37m) investment in Rimac last year. Rimac said then the cash injection was to support construction of new manufacturing facilities boost growth and “expand our global presence”.
Rimac started as a garage-based business in 2009. Today, the company supplies original equipment manufacturers worldwide, has partnerships with Aston Martin, Koenigsegg and others— and is the maker of the all-electric one-megawatt ‘Concept One’ supercar powered by a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide battery pack.
Camel CEO Liu Changlai, whose company entered the lithium business three years ago, said last year: “After studying the market deeply, searching for a technology partner, Rimac seemed the perfect match for us, leading the development of electric vehicle technology in many areas. Our strategy is to move aggressively into the new energy vehicle business.”
The Camel-Rimac venture would be the latest foray by China to forge manufacturing links with European car and battery makers— all eyeing a lucrative future EV battery market that the EU says could be worth EUR250 billion by 2025.
Earlier this year, German automotive manufacturer Continental confirmed plans to launch a battery production joint venture with China’s Sichuan Chengfei Integration Technology.
Meanwhile, Chinese private capital firm GSR Capital has signed a partnership deal with Turkish technology giant Zorlu that paves the way to building a 25GW capacity battery manufacturing plant in Turkey for electric vehicles and energy storage systems.
GSR co-chair Jianghua Su said the move would be “a key part of our business development in Europe”.