Margaux Fodéré / Photo credit: VLADIMIR SIMICEK / AFP 08:11, May 30, 2023

The first battery factory for electric vehicles opens its doors this Tuesday in the north of the country. A solemn moment that marks the long commitment of the France to promote the French drums. Three other factories will quickly emerge from the ground in the area. But beware of European competition, warn the specialties.

This is another step towards the industrial independence of the France. In Douvrin, in the Pas-de-Calais, a huge battery factory for electric vehicles will be inaugurated. The project led by ACC, a joint venture that brings together the oil company TotalEnergies, and the automotive groups Stellantis and Mercedes. And it should soon be joined by three other factories, which are also due to emerge in the coming months.

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Because the ambition is clear: to build a whole sector of batteries Made in France to power our electric cars. This is evidenced by the scale of production that will leave this plant by 2030: 40 GWh of batteries per year. Enough to equip 500,000 electric cars, according to Bercy.

"Forty giga-factories" in Europe by 2030

The ACC plant alone will cover a quarter of the target set by Emmanuel Macron, namely two million electric vehicles manufactured in France each year from 2030. But it will be necessary to prepare for European competition, warns Guillaume Crunelle, automotive expert at Deloitte.

"We are talking about four gigafactories by 2030 in France, that's good. But on European territory, it is a quarantine that we are talking about today for the same date, "he explains to the microphone of Europe 1. "So there will be very significant battery production capacity in Germany and also in the Nordic countries," he continues.

Moving faster on lithium refining

To produce batteries, raw materials are also needed. Imerys has announced its intention to operate the first lithium mine in France, in the Allier region. But we still have to go further, explains Guillaume Crunelle. In particular, it will be necessary to take care locally of "a whole part around refining, heavy chemistry, power electronics or battery electronics".

Lack of size nevertheless at the inauguration of this first factory scheduled for Tuesday: Emmanuel Macron. However, he had already visited the North a few weeks ago. But he then announced the arrival of the future Taiwanese battery factory in the region.