(Reuters) - China’s BYD is looking at launching battery production in Europe, the latest Asian battery maker aiming to make inroads in Europe as Brussels seek to build a home-grown industry to fuel a surge in electric car production.
Europe has only one operating factory producing battery cells for electric cars - a plant in Britain that produces batteries for Nissan vehicles such as the LEAF.
Below are details of plans to establish electric vehicle (EV) battery plants in Europe:
The Swedish company, headed by a former Tesla executive, aims to build Europe’s biggest lithium-ion battery factory, producing 32 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery cells a year by 2023, rivalling Tesla’s U.S. “gigafactory”.
It has partnered with Siemens, ABB and Volkswagen-owned truckmaker Scania to build the 4 billion euro ($4.7 billion)plant while the European Investment Bank has provided financial support.
The German-based consortium of 17 companies and research institutions plans to build two foundries, where lithium-ion battery cells are custom produced to customers’ specifications. The two factories aim to have a capacity of 34 GWh by 2028.
Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD is also one of the world’s biggest battery producers with the lowest production costs in the industry, according to Bernstein Research.
BYD is considering cell production in Europe, an executive told Reuters, adding it was not clear where it might be located.
BYD has a growing business making electric buses and is also involved in monorails, solar farms, and energy storage. The company has two production sites for electric buses in Europe, in Hungary and France.
The company, backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, warned in March that Chinese subsidy cuts for new-energy vehicles could slash its quarterly profit by as much as 90 percent.
China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (CATL), one of the biggest EV battery producers, said in November it was planning a $2 billion initial public offering to boost its lithium-ion battery output six-fold to 50 GWh capacity by 2020.
In January last year, CATL bought a 22 percent stake in Finnish auto supplier Valmet Automotive and has said it plans to build a factory in Europe, but has not announced details.
Volkswagen and Daimler have said they plan to buy batteries from CATL.
LG CHEM www.lgchem.com/global/main
South Korea’s LG Chem plans to produce 100,000 EV batteries per year at a Polish factory due to be completed this year.
LG Chem supplies batteries to Volkswagen, General Motors and Renault SA.
SAMSUNG SDI www.samsungsdi.com
South Korea’s Samsung SDI Co plans to open a factory near Budapest this year which would be able to produce batteries for 50,000 electric vehicles a year.
Samsung SDI, an affiliate of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, also produces rechargeable batteries for electronic devices such as smartphones and energy storage systems.
Samsung SDI, which already has a plant in Austria assembling battery packs, has supplied batteries to Volkswagen and BMW.
SK INNOVATION eng.skinnovation.com/main.asp
South Korea’s SK Innovation plans to break ground this year on a battery plant in Hungary and launch production from 2020, producing 7.5 GWh of batteries per year.
Customers would include Daimler, it said.
SK Innovation started as Korea Oil Corporation and owns South Korea’s largest crude oil refiner. It also has divisions for chemicals, lubricants, batteries and electronic materials.
GSR CAPITAL www.gsrcapital.com/en
Last year, Chinese investment firm GSR Capital bought Nissan Motor Co’s electric vehicle battery business - Automotive Energy Supply Corp - including battery plants in Japan, the U.S. state of Tennessee and England.
The UK plant produces 2 GWh of lithium ion batteries per year for Nissan electric vehicles.
In February, GSR signed a $4.5 billion joint venture deal with Turkey’s Zorlu Holding to build a factory that would launch production in 2023 for batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems.
GSR said in March it would invest $500 million in Swedish electric car maker National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) and planned to start production of EV batteries at NEVS.
GSR Capital Chairman Sonny Wu told Reuters the Swedish plant may launch output in mid- to late-2019 and GSR was also looking at elsewhere in Europe for additional battery factories.
GS YUASA www.gs-yuasa.com/en
Japanese battery maker GS Yuasa Corp said in January it would set up a factory in Hungary that would assemble lithium ion batteries and would consider producing cells on the site in the future.
Last year, the Nikkei business daily reported the company would begin mass-producing a new lithium-ion battery that would double the range of electric cars as early as 2020.
Chinese battery maker Tianjin Lishen plans to open a sales office in Germany, its first in Europe, and has held talks with Volkswagen and Daimler, a source at the company said in April.
Lishen’s biggest shareholder is China Electronic Technology Group (CETC), a state-owned firm managed by the central government, according to its website.
France’s Saft, owned by energy company Total produces a range of batteries, including for back-up power and industrial applications, but not for electric vehicles.
In February, it created an alliance with Siemans, Solvay and Manz to develop a new generation of batteries.
The group will focus on advanced high-density lithium-ion and solid-state technology, targeting the market for electric vehicles, railway, marine sectors, among others.
German auto parts and tyre maker Continental AG formed a joint venture in March with China’s CITC Ltd to produce so-called “mild” hybrid batteries in China.
Continental also said it was considering making EV batteries using solid-state technology, but for now was holding out for more advances to be made in the field.
($1 = 0.8544 euros)
Reporting by Eric Onstad in London, Esha Vaish in Stockholm, Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt and Bate Felix in Paris; editing by David Clarke