Spain plans to use funding from the European Union to create a public-private consortium with Volkswagen Group’s SEAT, based in Spain, and the power company Iberdrola to build Spain’s first EV battery factory. This news comes from Reyes Maroto, Spain’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, while at an event organized by the UGT union.
Maroto noted that the consortium would be open to other members and that it would help Spain start producing more electric vehicles locally.
“The project will allow the development of … the necessary infrastructure, installations, and mechanisms to autonomously and competitively manufacture a connected electric vehicle,” Maroto said.
Reuters noted that Spain is due to receive €140 billion from the EU pandemic recovery funds. These funds are due by 2023 and around half are in grants. Spain hopes to use a large portion of these to finance major industrial projects that will help bring its economy back to life while also upgrading it. This looks like the perfect kind of project. Battery production would create many jobs, and it would be supporting the key need for much more climate-fighting cleantech, in this case electric vehicles. Also, the factory is powered with solar PV panels.
Reuters noted that it once reported that Spain was looking to revamp Nissan’s main car plant near Barcelona into a battery production facility in order to preserve thousands of jobs. That plant closed back in December. Maroto didn’t mention the Nissan factory, nor did she mention where the new plant would be located, but this seems like a likely option and several CleanTechnica readers have suggested it as well.
This news is part of Volkswagen’s broader announcements regarding 6 battery gigafactories it plans to get 240 GWh of batteries a year from by 2030 and an even broader presentations about improvements in battery technology and battery production at Volkswagen and partner companies. The first battery gigafactory in Europe in these plans is up in Sweden (Skellefteå), the Northvolt Ett, which Volkswagen just committed to buying $14 billion worth of battery cells from. The second is the Northvolt Zwei battery gigafactory in Germany (Salzgitter), which was a joint venture between Volkswagen and Northvolt but Volkswagen is buying out completely. You can see in that image above that the 3rd of these 6 battery gigafactories is supposed to be somewhere in Spain, Portugal, or Southern France — Martorell, Spain, just 30 kilometers outside of Barcelona, is right in the middle of that area. That’s the location of SEAT’s Spanish factory.
After the “Western Europe” battery gigafactory, the next on Volkswagen’s timeline is supposed to come one year later, in 2027, in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, or somewhere else in that region. Poland is currently home to the largest EV battery factory in Europe, and LG Chem factory on the outskirts of Wrocław. It is just a couple hours away from the Tesla gigafactory under construction outside of Berlin. Batteries are produced there for the Renault ZOE, Audi e-tron, Porsche Taycan, and other some electric vehicles. Much EV battery production talent is accumulating in that area.