"Gigafactories" projects are springing up like mushrooms on the Old Continent. In France, the first of these mega-factories of batteries for electric vehicles to emerge from the ground, in Douvrin (Pas-de-Calais), will be inaugurated with great fanfare on Tuesday, in the presence, among others, of three French ministers and the three bosses of the groups involved (Stellantis, TotalEnergies and Mercedes).
In total, about fifty projects of this type have been announced at European level in recent years. Only a few factories are already in operation, in Germany, Sweden, Poland and Hungary. The first of these was that of the Swedish electric battery group Northvolt in Skellefteå, Sweden, in December 2021. It was followed in particular by Tesla's giga-factory in Germany, in Grünheide, near Berlin, in March 2022, on which had hovered a rumor of closure last year.
Three other projects in France
The France is trying to catch up with some of its European neighbours. After the Douvrin site, installed by ACC - the joint venture between Stellantis, TotalEnergies and Mercedes - three other plants will open their doors in France, all in Hauts-de-France: that of the Chinese AESC-Envision in Douai, near the Renault plant, and those of the French start-up Verkor and the Taiwanese ProLogium in Dunkirk. The announcement of the establishment of the latter is very recent, since it was announced by Emmanuel Macron a little more than a fortnight ago.
For the Old Continent, the challenge behind the installation of these dozens of giga-factories, with a great deal of public aid, is significant: to catch up with Asian suppliers, especially Chinese, who are 10 to 20 years ahead in this area. With the horizon of the year 2035 in mind, when the ban on the sale of new combustion vehicles in Europe will come into force.