Batteries: Great Wall Motor spin-off plans 20GWh cell plant in Europe

SVOLT, a Chinese battery maker resulting from a spin-off from Great Wall Motor, said on 9 July that it is planning its first overseas manufacturing base in Europe. General manager Yang Hongxin broke the news at an event in the Chinese city of Baoding, announcing that SVOLT plans to have five production bases worldwide, including locations in the USA and Europe. These plants could eventually give SVOLT a global manufacturing capacity of 100GWh by 2025.

The Chinese company is planning to build facilities in an as yet undecided European country, to include a research centre, a plant for battery chemical products, and a cells and modules plant with an initial 20GWh capacity. This operation will have an initial investment of €2Bn (US$2.2Bn) with production starting in 2022.

Roskill View

After five years of exponential growth in the Chinese EV market, local battery and EV makers are looking to overseas demand to replicate the success of Korean and Japanese battery makers.

SVOLT started an ambitious expansion strategy in 2018 with an aim to expand globally. Unlike other, overly ambitious battery projects in China and South East Asia, SVOLT’s parent company, Great Wall Motors, has deep roots in the automotive industry with more than 1M cars sold annually. While Great Wall Motor is pushing hard for EVs, however, it only entered the EV market less than a year ago. In April 2018 Great Wall unveiled its Ora brand at the Beijing auto show targeting young customers in major Chinese cities through one of the worlds’ least expensive EVs. Since January 2019, its ORA brand has sold more than 26,000 EVs.

Whether SVOLT European and North American plants will only supply batteries to its parent brand Great Wall Motor remains unclear. It seems likely that SVOLT will follow BYD’s steps by selling its batteries to other automakers.

With the 20GWh of SVOLT, Roskill forecasts European battery capacity to reach 145GWh by 2025. Installed battery capacity in Europe is expected to increase from 0% in 2019 to almost 38% by 2025.

Roskill’s Lithium-ion Batteries: Outlook to 2028 report and Greenfield Battery Raw Material Projects for the 2020s report were both published in Q2 2019. Click to download the brochure and sample pages or to access further information.

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This article was written by Jose Lazuen. Please get in touch below if you wish to discuss further:

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