Lithium-ion developer and producer BMZ has taken control of German peer TerraE Holding, in a move to cement Germany’s position as a future leader in European battery cell manufacturing.
BMZ, which describes itself as Europe’s largest producer of lithium-ion battery systems, said taking majority ownership was part of plans to launch battery cells production in Germany by 2020.
TerraE, which was founded with four shareholders, is now headed by BMZ founder and CEO Sven Bauer (pictured).
Bauer said: “We are pleased to be able to continue the plans for German cell production through the takeover of TerraE in order to cover the enormous economic demand for battery cells in our own country.”
“Especially in the electromobility sector, we will use the cells produced by TerraE in the future to build high-tech battery systems for BMZ automotive customers,” Bauer said.
In the medium term TerraE “aims for cell production with a volume of 8 gigawatt-hours (GWh)”, BMZ said.
A BMZ spokesperson told BEST Battery Briefing on 22 November financial and other details relating to the takeover would not be disclosed.
Asked whether the move might mean job cuts at TerraE, the spokesperson said: “All employees of TerraE will continue to be offered the option to participate in the project.”
A decision on where to build the cell-making facility is still to be taken, the spokesperson said. “Discussions are ongoing with the (German) federal states.”
The location decision will be made jointly with the ‘Fab4Lib’ partnership— launched by TerraE at the start of this year— which involves specialists from 19 research institutions and industrial companies with the goal of developing “large-scale mass production for lithium-ion cells”.
BMZ said that in addition to the €120 million (US$137m) the company is already investing in the expansion of its battery production lines globally, it “continues to pursue a clear path to placing cell production in its home country of Germany”.
“If Germany, more than ever, needs its own cell production, then BMZ, as the largest buyer of Asian cells to date, is the best (TerraE) shareholder that one can have on board for this challenge,” the company said.
Sven Bauer told BBB last March that BMZ was considering partnering with a Japanese company to launch a battery cell production plant in Europe.
BMZ already supplies lithium-ion battery packs to electric vehicle fleet operators in Germany.
The company has previously pledged a total investment of around €300m for the 4 gigawatt-hour output planned in the first phase of its expansion.
Last May, BMZ signed a long-term supply deal representing “over a few hundred million cells” with South Korean manufacturer LG Chem.