PARIS – Renault Group has signed partnership agreements with Envision AESC of China and Verkor of France to supply electric vehicle batteries for its EV production hub in northern France.
Renault made the announcement on Monday, which confirmed earlier news reports, ahead of a visit by President Emmanuel Macron to Douai, France, where Envision plans to invest up to 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in a factory that would create 2,500 new jobs by 2030.
The Envision AESC factory in Douai will have an initial capacity of 9 gigawatt hours in 2024, with the aim of reaching 24 gWh by 2030. It will provide batteries for the coming Renault 5 small EV and other models that are key to CEO Luca de Meo's turnaround plan for the money-losing automaker.
Renault said it signed a memorandum of understanding with the French start-up Verkor to co-develop and then manufacture high-performance batteries, with a view to owning a more than 20 percent stake in Verkor.
"The combination of these two partnerships with Renault ElectriCity will create nearly 4,500 direct jobs in France by 2030, while developing a robust battery manufacturing ecosystem in the heart of Europe," Renault said in a statement.
Renault's EV production hub, with sites at Douai, Maubeuge and Ruitz, is expected to produce 400,000 cars a year and create 700 additional jobs in the region. With the French state as its most powerful shareholder, Renault has come under pressure to preserve jobs and keep EV technology in the country.
The automaker currently buys batteries for its Zoe model from an LG Energy Solution factory in Poland, an arrangement that will carry over to the coming Megane EV lineup planned for next year, according to the statement.
Renault is the latest European automaker to map out a battery plan in recent months, a sign that competition to ensure adequate supply for their electric vehicles is heating up. Porsche and Volvo Cars last week announced plans to produce power packs, while Peugeot maker Stellantis will update investors on its EV strategy July 8. Volkswagen Group in March unveiled a multibillion-euro plan for six European battery factories.
Renault is also still talking to Stellantis' battery joint venture with energy giant Total, called Automotive Cell Company, about a potential third battery tie-up for around 2027, according to its statement.
De Meo will give more details about Renault's battery strategy at a media event on Wednesday.