Volkswagen's gigafactory in the Valencian town of Sagunto will produce batteries for the storage of energy produced in photovoltaic and wind farms in addition to that of the electric car. The managers of PowerCo (Volkswagen Group's battery subsidiary) have confirmed that they already have demand for this type of batteries, and have specified that production will start at the German plant in Salzgitter and then be extended to Sagunto. PowerCo 's project is progressing in parallel with that of the Valencian company Power Electronics, which aspires to set up a gigafactory of batteries for the storage of renewable energies.
In any case, PowerCo's main line of business will be the production of batteries for electric cars (the Valencian plant will have the capacity to supply cells to 800,000 vehicles per year). PowerCo's managers have appeared with the President of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, after visiting the works of the battery gigafactory in the German town of Salzgitter (the first of the group) and have stressed that the construction works of the Valencian plant will start soon, although they have avoided specifying the date.
The CEO of PowerCo, Frank Blome, has highlighted the efforts of the Government and the Generalitat for the arrival of the gigafactory in Valencia (the project has already received nearly 200 million in public aid). The executive stressed that the group has also demonstrated its commitment to Valencia with a "massive investment" of money and assured that they will continue to explore the possibility of receiving additional "regional incentives".
The German group received for the gigafactory about one hundred million from the Perte del Vehículo Eléctrico y Conectado (VEC) and the Government has just added another 90 million euros to the project. The president of the Generalitat has specified that these 90 million euros are going to be destined to the improvement of the energy efficiency of the plant and has reminded that they complete the money coming from the reconstruction funds.
The CEO of PowerCo explained that they do not plan to set up a cathode plant (one of the main elements of the batteries) in Sagunt because at the moment they have covered their needs with a supplier that supplies them from Poland. Blome has confirmed that in the coming months will be installed next to the gigafactory auxiliary industry companies as suppliers of casings.
Asked whether they will become battery suppliers to the Ford factory in Almussafes, company officials have warned: "We can't say anything". One of Ford's main battery suppliers was the BYD automotive group, a Chinese manufacturer of electric cars and storage cells. Ford gave up 106 million euros from Perte VEC for the electrification of Almussafes in August after changing the technology supplier for the cells, Industry Minister Reyes Maroto revealed last week.
Frank Blome added that with the idea of manufacturing batteries for renewable energy plants, they are looking to gain efficiency and cover an unsatisfied demand. The executive has indicated that the homologation process of a battery for an electric vehicle can take up to a year and that time can be used to produce cells for renewable energy storage. "It's a very interesting segment," he said. "The cells are the same. We already have demand. We have planned it for Salzgitter and for Spain later," he clarified.
Ximo Puig explained that the training center for the future workers of the gigafactory will have capacity for four hundred students. PowerCo executives recalled that one of the reasons for choosing Valencia over other regions of Spain was the potential of the universities and engineering training centers. The company intends to count on the collaboration of professors from Valencian universities.