An overview of the ACC battery plant, Source: Parc des Industries Artois Flandres

France starts building its Battery Valley with opening of new gigafactory

France starts building its Battery Valley with opening of new gigafactory

The facility located near Lens is the first step in the grand re-industrialization of the North along modern tech lines

President Emmanuel Macron, accompanied by local officials, unveiled the first of four planned gigafactories in France’s so-called ‘Battery Valley’. The plant is located in the commune of Billy-Berclau, near the city of Lens, in the far north of the country – an area that used to be the former coal mining and industrial heart of France.

Now, the Automotive Cell Company’s (ACC) factory represents the first step in a drive to re-industrialize the North and make the country more economically robust and competitive on the world stage. It is now well known that President Macron is of the strong opinion that the European Union needs to become a strong economic player if it is not to lag behind and become a pawn in the competition between USA and China.

Will Europe become synonymous with car batteries?

ACC, which is equally owned by TotalEnergies, Jeep maker Stellantis and Mercedes-Benz, has received a 1.3 billion euro package of state aid from France, Germany and Italy as part of a 7 billion euro plan to build a string of new facilities across these countries.

The new plant itself will start production this summer with the aim of eventually employing up to 2,000 people by 2030. It is expected that the gigafactory, which will be the length of six football fields, will manufacture 800,000 lithium-ion car batteries per year, fueling the shift to EVs on the continent and worldwide.

The initiative is touted as part of Industrial Revolution 4.0, a phase in global development, which this time will have to straddle a delicate balance between economic growth and environmental protection. The Billy-Berclau factory promises to be an example of this as the company’s website claims that there will be no noise pollution and discharge of industrial wastewater. Plus, the plant will consume 30% less water than the standard and 90% of the waste will be recycled.

Meanwhile, the construction of a car battery plant by Taiwanese company ProLogium in Dunkirk (also in the North), will add another cog to the Battery Valley.



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