The European Investment Bank (EIB) is supporting the construction of a battery gigafactory in Douai, France to be run by Japan-based Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC).
The project will supply the Renault Group with a new generation of lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles.
The EIB is providing €337.2 million (US$357 million) in direct loans to the project, and €112.8 million in indirect loans to participating commercial banks.
The facility will initially have a production capacity of 9 gigawatt hours, capable of powering 200,000 electric vehicles per year. This will be increased later through three planned expansions, reaching between 24GWh and 30GWh per year by 2030.
The first phase, with a total investment of €1.3 billion, will produce battteries for the Renault ECHO (new R5) and 4Ever models. In future phases, the gigafactory will also be able to supply other automotive and industrial manufacturers.
The project is in line with the European Union‘s objectives for clean mobility. To achieve a green transition and carbon neutrality as set out in the European Green Deal by 2050, Europe must significantly increase its “Made in EU” battery production capacity.
The investment, one of four battery gigafactories planned in the Hauts-de-France region, is guaranteed by the European Commission’s InvestEU programme.
A global player in the development and manufacture of high-performance batteries for electric vehicles, AESC is already present in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, China and Japan.
“Thanks to decisive financing from the European Investment Bank, the construction of this gigafactory is part of Europe’s goal of reindustrializing the region in a low-carbon manner," says AESC chief executive officer Matsumoto Shoichi.
“This strategic investment in AESC allows Europe and its automotive industry to acquire industrial tools near their production sites, as will be the case for the ElectriCity cluster developed by Renault in Douai," adds EIB vice-president Ambroise Fayolle.
The InvestEU programme provides the European Union with essential long-term financing, mobilizing large volumes of public and private funds to support a sustainable recovery. It also helps to attract private investment in support of key EU priorities, such as the European Green Deal and the digital transition.
The programme brings together under one umbrella the many EU financial instruments currently available to support investment in the region, making financing projects simpler, more efficient and more flexible.