Renault inks battery deals with Envision AESC, Verkor, for gigafactories in France

by John Shepherd
Renault said it is placing France at the heart of its industrial strategy for EV batteries. Image: Renault
Renault said today it had signed agreements with China’s Envision AESC and France’s Verkor to design and produce electric vehicle batteries in northern France.

Renault is partnering with AESC, the battery arm of the Envision Group, which will develop a gigafactory in Douai with a capacity of 9 GWh in 2024 and "the aim of reaching 24 GWh by 2030”.
AESC, a long-standing partner of Nissan, will invest up to €2bn (£1.7bn) at Douai "to produce latest technology, cost-competitive, low-carbon and safe batteries” for EVs.

Pilot line

Under a memorandum of understanding with Verkor, the French start-up specialising in EV battery cells, Renault will co-develop and manufacture "high-performance batteries” – with a view to Renault taking a stake of more than 20% in Verkor.

The initial phase of the Verkor partnership will involve unspecified financing to establish an R&D; centre and pilot line for battery cell and module prototyping and production in France as early as 2022.
The second phase will see Verkor establish the first gigafactory in France for high-performance batteries, with an initial capacity of 10 GWh for Renault from 2026, potentially rising to 20 GWh by 2030.

'Closed loop'

Renault said the Douai gigafactory paves the way to support the EU’s efforts to establish a battery cells production network in Europe to challenge Asia’s battery production dominance – and establish "closed-loop recycling solutions for production waste and end-of-life batteries”.

Renault said the new partnerships "go hand in hand with existing programmes”, including its agreement with South Korea’s LG Chem, which supplies battery modules for Renault's electric range and the upcoming MéganE model. The company is also continuing research to deploy solid-state battery technology from 2030.

Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo said the agreements "bolster our position as we ensure the Europe-based production of one million electric vehicles by 2030”.

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