Lionel Gougelot, edited by Loane Nader // photo credit: John MACDOUGALL / AFP 07:40, May 30, 2023

This Tuesday, Hauts-de-France inaugurates the first giga-factory of electric batteries in the city of Douvrin. The France is therefore catching up in the race for industrial sovereignty and invites two Italian and German ministers to join their French counterpart.

The industrial sovereignty of France is on the move. The city of Douvrin in the Pas-de-Calais is an example: the first giga factory of electric batteries is inaugurated this Tuesday in response to too much hegemony of Asian giants in the field. For the occasion, two Italian and German ministers are invited to join their French counterpart as well as the bosses of the groups involved (TotalEnergies and Mercedes).

In front of this first building just out of the ground, with a surface of eight football fields, Frédéric Przybylski, the director of the site, does not hide himself, a certain fascination. "We think it's giant. When you see the surface to build the second block, in July, it's even bigger." Here will be produced battery modules that, by 2030, will equip 500,000 cars per year, with the first prototypes next summer.

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More than €8 billion in investment

A considerable achievement for the site manager. "We are the first gigafactory in France and we are the only one that can show something, a product and also machines that are running and starting to make batteries." The site represents more than 8 billion euros of investment, 2,000 jobs in the long term and employees like Lucie Huart, production line managers, engaged in a real industrial revolution.

"Yes, indeed, because we will create products that we have never manufactured in France and that will also participate in the entire ecological transition," she says. "That is to say, how are we going to minimize the impact of other means of transport tomorrow on the environment. So yes, we have a real pride in that too." It is therefore the first of four plants in the North region that should allow the France to be autonomous in battery production by 2027.