BritishVolt gigafactory founder tries again in Italy

BritishVolt gigafactory founder tries again in Italy

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The former founder of BritishVolt, Lars Carlstrom, has announced plans for a €4bn battery gigafactory in Italy called ItalVolt.

Carlstrom started a similar venture in the UK but stepped down in December.

The Italian gigafactory follows the same pattern as the UK venture, looking for support for a site with a factory design by Pininfarina and a potential industrial partner. Carlstrom says his plan would see the 300,000m2 being the largest in Europe and the twelfth in the world by size, with an initial capacity of 45 GWh. He sees it employing up to 4,000 workers and creating 10,000 new jobs with the first phase opening in 2024.

This is important as the EU is set to announce its list of strategic technologies in the next week, and this will certainly include battery manufacturing. Global battery demand is expected to increase 17 times to 3,600GWh by 2030,driven by the move to electric vehicles. Jaguar Land Rover for example yesterday announced all its vehicles, including Land Rover, will be electric by that date. Carlstrom says the expected demand from the European Union will be 565 GWh, second to China’s expected demand of 1,548 GWh, although this is seems unlikely when compared to the battery plants already being built in the US by Chinese and Korean manufacturers to supply car makers.

However battery technology is set to be a key area of trade policy and subsidies will create friction with the US.

Carlstrom stepped down in the UK after it emerged he had been convicted of tax fraud in Sweden in the 1990s. He was replaced as CEO by co-founder Orral Nadjari, who is also CEO of the Clarisse Group in Abu Dhabi.

Like the BritishVolt plan, the first step of the project involves the identification of the area where the plant will be built, at the end of the due diligence activity currently underway on some selected sites at national level. 

Next: Italvolt gigafactory partners 

The UK plan initially identified a site with local government backing in South Wales but last month announced a move to a site in Northumberland. The company is also working with Siemens UK on automation and digital twin technology, but has yet to announce significant levels of funding for the project.

Similarly, Italvolt’s Gigafactory will be designed by the Architecture division of Turin-based Pininfarina. This time the focus is on a new generation, intelligent and responsible industrial plant with Industry 4.0 automation equipment from Comau, also based in Turin.

Comau, a subsidiary of car maker Stellantis that includes Fiat, will also be responsible for the construction of the Research and Development laboratory which will welcome academics and industrial partners engaged in the development of the most advanced technologies in the electric mobility sector.

The aim is to bring industrial, political and commercial support from a major European car maker, as Amsterdam-based Stellantis also includes the Citroen and Peugeot brands as well as Chrysler after ist merger last month. However these brands are working with battery manufacturers in France on Gigafactory plans.

“With the project of our Gigafactory, Italvolt wants to give an important answer to the historic opportunity of green industrialization, which is affecting all production sectors in a transversal way, with a socio-economic impact. economic which will represent a turning point for the global economy,” said Carlstrom, CEO and founder of Italvolt. “I strongly believe that our team of highly skilled engineers and technicians will be able to achieve the greenest battery production not only in Europe, but around the world. Our goal is to secure the future of the automotive industry and ensure that the supply chain is as green as possible, from start to finish. The socio-economic impact that the new green industrialization brings with it will represent a turning point for the world ”.

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