Chinese high-tech company invests up to EUR 2 billion in two Saarland production sites
SVOLT Energy Technology Co., Ltd. (SVOLT), a global high-tech company headquartered in China that develops and produces lithium-ion batteries and battery systems for electric vehicles and energy storage systems, will establish its European production site in Germany, as announced at IAA 2019. A module and pack factory as well as a state-of-the-art cell factory with 24 GWh production capacity in the final expansion stage will be built at two Saarland locations. A total investment of up to EUR 2 billion is planned in Europe. In total, SVOLT aims to create up to 2,000 jobs. Battery cells and modules and high-voltage storage systems (packs) will be produced in Germany.
A reliable partner for the European automotive industry
As a spin-off from Chinese car manufacturer Great Wall Motors, SVOLT combines systemic knowledge in the field of battery systems and management with extensive expertise in the field of vehicle integration. SVOLT is able to offer its customers tailor-made solutions at the battery cell, module and high-voltage storage system (pack) level as well as the corresponding software.
By taking an integrated approach to vehicle architecture and battery systems, SVOLT supports OEMs in creating safer, highly functional, durable and cost-effective products that also focus on the needs and expectations of end customers. The company’s one-stop production portfolio includes high-quality battery cells and their cell chemistry, modules and high-voltage storage systems (packs) as well as battery management systems (BMS) and software solutions.
Research and innovation as a driver for the development of sustainable electromobility
In addition to solutions that comply with current market standards, SVOLT is working intensively on the development of new technologies and the continued further development of existing technologies. With two large R&D centres in Baoding and Wuxi, China, and three R&D hubs, SVOLT currently employs around half of its 3,000 worldwide employees in the area of research and development alone and registered over 550 patents in 2019. Among other things, SVOLT is the first company to bring cobalt-free high nickel cell chemistry to mass production readiness. SVOLT also employs an active research and development team working in the area of solid-state batteries.
The cobalt-free nickel manganese battery cells achieve an energy density comparable to that of conventional high-nickel cells, but by doing without cobalt, are more sustainable, durable and more economical. The high-tech company plans to bring the first cobalt-free high-nickel battery cells installed in vehicles onto the market as early as mid-2021. The target segment is the mid-range volume market.
Strong local partnerships
Battery cell production is planned to start at the end of 2023 and will be established near the Saarland town of Überherrn. In its final expansion stage, it will achieve a production capacity of 24 GWh, which corresponds to batteries for 300,000 to 500,000 electric cars per year. The module and pack factory will be implemented on an already industrialised site at Heusweiler, which will be retrofitted for module and pack production. Production is expected to start here as early as mid-2022.
The large-scale project will be implemented in close cooperation between SVOLT, the State Ministry of Saarland for Economic Affairs, Labour, Energy and Transport (MWAEV) and Strukturholding Saar GmbH (SHS). With its implementation concept, the MWAEV has actively entered into the settlement talks and was able to convince SVOLT. SVOLT is commissioning SHS with the construction of the two factories as a turnkey project.
100 GWh production capacity by 2025
SVOLT plans to establish 100 GWh battery cell production capacities worldwide by 2025. In addition to the plant in Germany, three plants are planned in the Asian Pacific region with an installed total capacity of 76 GWh. SVOLT opened the first of the four planned cell factories in Jintan, China in November 2019. In addition, several module and pack plants are being created – depending on customer requirements.
A total investment of EUR 8 billion is expected worldwide. The company intends to employ around 10,000 people. At the same time SVOLT is continuously developing its research and development capacities.
Hongxin Yang, President & General Manager SVOLT Energy Technology: “For SVOLT as a global high-tech company for electromobility, the European automotive industry and the growing market for renewable energies are of great strategic importance. We have selected Saarland as our first European production site for SVOLT’s high-end products for a number of reasons: It is not only at the heart of Europe, but also represents a region of innovation and technology for the automotive industry. We are convinced that the start of the partnership with Saarland will be an important step in the development of a new, alternative and sustainable energy industry and that together we will therefore make a significant contribution to the future.”
Kai-Uwe Wollenhaupt, President of SVOLT Europe & Vice President of SVOLT Energy Technology: “As a high-tech company, SVOLT will focus on the development of subsystems such as battery cells, modules and control systems in Europe according to market conditions. For us, sustainable, responsible use of natural resources is at the heart of all associated activities. Among other things, we are working to establish a transparent supply chain and to continuously improve our production technologies and recycling processes.”
Maxim Hantsch-Kramskoj, Vice President Sales & Marketing, SVOLT Europe: “Our innovative strength comes from our in-depth systemic knowledge of battery systems, which we have been developing for over eight years, as well as comprehensive know-how in the field of vehicle integration. Both make SVOLT an ideal partner for the automotive industry when it comes to taking an integrated approach to vehicle architecture and battery systems.”
Tobias Hans, Prime Minister of Saarland: “The car is one of the central pillars of Saarland as an industrial location. We want to be at the forefront of the structural change in the automotive industry and develop our federal state into a cluster for innovation in Europe, especially in and for the automotive industry. We have a decisive advantage in terms of location: expertise and infrastructure. For us, it is about playing a leading role in the development of environmentally-friendly vehicles of the future. We are pursuing a sustainable and innovative mobility concept. In this way we can safeguard jobs as well as the attractiveness of Saarland as a place to live and work and at the same time ensure that we maintain our leading position as a car state. The siting of SVOLT brings us a big step closer to this goal and is therefore a huge success for Saarland.”
Anke Rehlinger, Minister for Economic Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Saarland: “We want the car of tomorrow to be built in Saarland. The siting of SVOLT is a success for Saarland’s location and industrial strategy, an important step for the future of industry and mobility in Saarland. The Saarland mix of industrial know-how and qualified specialists combined with excellent research and innovative capacity is convincing all over the world. With active industrial, structural and labour market policies, we are ensuring that the structural transformation will be a success and that good jobs will be preserved and also created.”
Thomas Schuck, Managing Director of gwSaar Saarland Economic Promotion Corporation and SHS Strukturholding Saar GmbH: “SHS is the ideal partner and door opener for international investors in all sectors when it comes to activities on the German market. With our comprehensive range of services, foreign companies such as SVOLT are looked after throughout their establishment: From initial location consulting to the development of a turnkey property. I am delighted that Saarland as a business location prevailed over more than 30 regions from all over Europe. We were able to score points through decades of industry experience, internationally successful companies from the logistics and IT industry, direct border proximity to France and highly qualified employees.”