London — US electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla plans to turns its Berlin-Gruenheide factory into the world's largest EV battery plant, CEO Elon Musk said Nov. 24 at a German government-organized EU battery conference.
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"We will turn Gigafactory Berlin into the world's largest battery production plant," Musk said in a tweet, shared by Germany's energy minister Peter Altmaier.
Germany's auto lobby group VDA welcomed the plans to produce batteries in Germany with government support, creating 10,000 jobs, it said.
Tesla on its website described Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg as the most advanced high-volume EV plant in the world with production of its model Y to start next summer.
Construction for the plant's first phase is underway.
Musk said an annual capacity of 100 GWh was possible at the plant, extending to up to 250 GWh/year.
EU battery alliance
Focus of the conference held virtually from Berlin was progress of the EU Battery Alliance with the French and Italian industry ministers also participating.
Europe's first joint battery project led by Total's battery unit Saft with French auto group PSA as well as its German brand Opel has been approved by the EC as IPCEI with up to Eur3 billion ($3.6 billion) of support by the German government for two 48 GWh/year factories in Germany and France.
The second project involving BASF, BMW, Varta and some 50 European companies across 12 member states was currently reviewed by the EC, it said.
Altmaier added that support for battery projects could become a blueprint for other European industrial initiatives like hydrogen.
Six gigafactories in Germany
Germany has now six EV battery gigafactories planned at advanced stages after China's SVOLT on Nov.17 selected the Saarland for its first European plant.
Construction for a 24 GWh/year lithium-ion EV battery factory is to start early 2021 ramping up in step to full capacity by 2023 with investment up to Eur2 billion.
Annual production of 24 GWh correspond to battery supply for up to 500,000 EVs.
German auto makers have doubled EV production this year to over 500,000, with 246,000 produced in Germany in the first three quarters, VDA said Nov. 18.
German EV sales for the first 10 months of the year tripled to 252,000, with Germany on track to have 1 million EVs on the road in 2022.
The 2030 climate targets would require some 7 million-10 million EVs in Germany alone.
A study by the government-sponsored e-mobility platform on EV charging also had a 15 million EVs by 2030 scenario requiring a speedy roll-out of EV charging infrastructure, another bottleneck Berlin has been focusing on lately.
There were over 33,000 EV charging stations available to the public end-September with three quarters operated by utilities, often underutilized, while the VDA has been calling for a much speedier roll-out to help EV sales.
Some 2,000 new public chargers were required each week to meet the 2030 targets, it said.
The government Nov. 15 also called upon the oil industry and forecourt operators to speed up EV charging facilities.
Utility group BDEW estimates that around 80% of EV charging will happen in private places with a new subsidy scheme offering Eur900/home EV charger starting amid strong interest.
Research into power demand of EVs varies, but some experts estimate around 2.5 TWh/year of additional demand from 1 million EVs depending on range, usage and size.
Battery capacity of 400 GWh/year as estimated by the EC for 2025 could be sufficient for around 8 million EVs with many car makers still contracting EV batteries from Asia, which dominates the market.
GERMAN EV BATTERY FACTORY PLANS (SELECTED PROJECTS)
Source: S&P Global Platts, developers (*24 GWh/yr = batteries for up to 500,000 EVs)