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Macron raises alarm on European battery dependence

Mon, 02/18/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

France will invest €700 million (US$788.8 million) over the next five years to boost the European battery industry and reduce reliance on Asian battery makers, President Emmanuel Macron has said.

Speaking to the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers in Paris, Macron said that Europe needs a “wake-up call” on batteries, referencing the threat of external dependence for an increasingly vital resource in an era of international trade wars.

“In terms of sovereignty and independence, I think it’s not good in the long run for our industry to be 100 per cent reliant on non-Europeans,” Macron was quoted by Reuters as saying.

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Mercedes adds batteries to investments in Poland

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

Mercedes-Benz is to build a new battery factory in Jawor, Poland, creating 300 jobs and expanding the global battery production network of Mercedes to nine factories across three continents.

The announcement follows up on the German automotive manufacturer’s electric initiative, under which the company will “electrify the complete portfolio until 2022”.

Mercedes is currently building a “state-of-the-art engine factory” at the site in Jawor, 100 kilometres from the German border. This plant “will produce four cylinder engines for hybrid and conventionally driven vehicles” and will be the first production site of Mercedes cars in Poland.

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Germany names ‘national battery factory’ consortium

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Federal research minister Karliczek  © BMBF / Hans-Joachim Rickel

Germany has revealed the partners of a new government-backed battery cell consortium, as part of plans to secure the nation’s “technological sovereignty in battery technology”.

Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché has been selected to join the consortium along with German battery peers BMZ, TerraE, Customcells, EAS and Liacon.

Federal research minister Anja Karliczek said Germany would invest an extra €500 million (US$570m) in battery research over the next four years, including the construction of a ‘national battery research factory’— to be operated by the consortium— bringing research and production activities “under one roof”.

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Second Korean collaboration for BMZ Group

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
BMZ's Sven Bauer and Samsung SDI's Michael Son at the contract signing

Germany’s BMZ Group and South Korea’s Samsung SDI have entered a long-term cooperation agreement to jointly promote the expansion of electromobile applications in the European market.

Karlstein-based BMZ said Samsung SDI, “one of the world's largest cell manufacturers, will rely in the future on BMZ as system supplier for battery systems, integration and software”.

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BMZ takes control of TerraE to launch German cell production ‘by 2020’

Mon, 11/26/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Sven Bauer

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.

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Germany’s billion-euro bid to lead EU battery cell production

Mon, 11/19/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Peter Altmeier

Germany has pledged to pump €1 billion (US$1.1bn) into promoting battery cell production by 2021— with the aim of German and European producers “supplying 30% of global demand” by 2030.

The head of the federal economic affairs and energy ministry, Peter Altmaier, also revealed a “new battery cell consortium” could be formed in Germany around the end of this year.

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JCI quits batteries with Power Solutions sale

Mon, 11/19/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Cyrus Madon

Johnson Controls International (JCI) has announced a definitive agreement to sell its battery business Power Solutions to US and Canadian investment firms Brookfield Business Partners and CDPQ in a cash transaction valued at US$13.2 billion.

The deal ends months of feverish speculation about the future of Power Solutions.

New York and Toronto-listed Brookfield is the business services and industrials company of Brookfield Asset Management. Quebec-based CDPQ (Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec) is an institutional investment fund manager.

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Leclanché joins marine energy storage partnership

Mon, 11/19/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

Swiss battery manufacturer Leclanché has been selected to supply “customised marine energy storage” systems for Norway-based technology group Kongsberg.

Through this partnership, Leclanché will deliver “one of the largest single marine battery system orders to date” for nine vessels totalling 45 megawatt-hours of capacity.

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Hitachi starts up ‘hybrid BESS’ in Germany

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd
Hitachi storage project

Japanese technology group Hitachi has started up a demonstration energy storage system comprising two battery technologies in Germany.

Hitachi Chemicals has set up the 22.5 megawatt-hour (MWh) lithium-ion and sodium sulfur (NaS) system in Lower Saxony with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (Nedo), Hitachi Power Solutions and battery developer NGK Insulators.

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Work starts on Mercedes’ Alabama EV battery plant

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel

Daimler has broken ground for an electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Alabama for its Mercedes-Benz subsidiary.

A ceremony marking the start of construction at Tuscaloosa, just seven miles from Mercedes existing vehicle production site, came just weeks after German auto firms indicated they could pull the plug on new investments in battery manufacturing in the US, if forced to pay increased tariffs under the Trump administration’s “national security” review.

The battery plant is part of a US$1 billion investment in the US that will cover two million square feet— twice the size of Mercedes’ nearby site. The US plant will form part of an eight-strong global battery production network including plants in Germany, China and Thailand.

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