February 20, 2020 – According to Opel’s official statement, the battery cell production facility at their Kaiserslautern site will have a potential capacity of 24 GWh. The cell technology is currently still under development at Opel’s project partner, the French company Saft.
Starting from 2023, three blocks with a capacity of eight gigawatt hours each will be constructed in phases. According to Michael Lohscheller, Opel’s CEO, the factory will be able to produce enough batteries “Made in Kaiserslautern” annually to power half a million vehicles. Around two billion euros are being invested in the sustainable project, which is expected to create around 2,000 jobs. Based on a capacity of 24 GWh and 500,000 vehicles, the average battery size per car will be 48 kWh. This is approximately the battery capacity of the Vauxhall Corsa-e or Peugeot e-208. As Michael Lohscheller explains, the battery cells produced in Kaiserslautern can be used at all Opel sites, be it for the production of the plug-in hybrid in Eisenach, the electrical Corsa in Saragossa/Spain, or the future electrical Astra in Rüsselsheim.
German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Almaier sees immense potential: “We want to build the best and the most sustainable batteries in Germany and in Europe. I firmly believe that battery cells from Kaiserslautern are going to set a new standard in terms of carbon footprint and sustainability.”
The projected parallel plant in France is expected to contribute another 24 GWh – which will bring the consortium’s total battery cell production capacity to 48 GWh. The total investment volume for the project is almost five billion euros. The consortium consisting of the Saft, a French battery producer, Opel and some other companies at Saft’s site in Nersac, southern France, only started pilot production in January. The parallel plant in Douvrin, in the north west of France, is expected to start production in 2023 while Kaiserslautern is expected to go into operation one year later.
Meanwhile, a joint venture called ACC (Automotive Cell Company) comprised of PSA, Opel’s parent company, and Saft, a subsidiary of Total, has been announced. The purpose of the joint venture is going to be to bundle “know-how in the development of electric vehicle batteries in Europe”.