ItalVolt to turn Olivetti site into battery gigafactory

ItalVolt to turn Olivetti site into battery gigafactory

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

ItalVolt has signed a deal for 1m sq m in Scarmagno in Northern Italy to build a battery gigafactory with a capacity of 45GWh.

The 300.000 m2 gigafactory near Turin will be designed by Italian design house Pininfaria and would have the 12th largest footprint in the world. This will also include a 20,000 sq m battery R&D centre. “Our next step is to obtain building permits by the beginning of 2022 so work can begin in the second half of the year,” said the company. The aim is to have the plant in production in 2024.

Stellantis, the automotive group that includes Fiat, also based in Turin, is also planning to build a series of battery gigafactories across Europe. 

“The area that hosted the historic Olivetti will come back to life in the following months with a new industrial project focused on the business of electric mobility, which today presents itself as a highly strategic and innovative sector, just as Olivetti was in the 1960s in the IT sector,” said Patrick Del Bigio, CEO of property firm Prelios Sgr that owns the land (above left).

The Olivetti plant was built in 1964 to make desktop calculators and made hundreds of thousands of PCs as part of a joint venture with AT&T of the US. It also included R&D labs and an EMC test chamber. Olivetti became part of Telecom Italia in 2003 and was spunout as a subsidiary in 2005, and now has a focus on office equipment and the Internet of Things as part of TIM. One of the buildings on the site was severely damaged by fire in 2013.

“The industrial heritage of the site remains intact with important socio-economic developments that will derive from the focus on green industrialization,” said Del Bigio. “With this focus, Prelios SGR has also been particularly committed and has contributed to the operation’s success, working in close coordination with representatives of the public administration and all the other actors involved, as well as defining the best value of the real estate asset.”

“We are proud to be the promoters of a project that will become one of the largest gigafactories in Southern Europe. We are certain that this will pave the way for new industrial initiatives dedicated to battery production,” said Lars Carlstrom, CEO of ItalVolt (centre). “To achieve the challenging goal, set by the European Commission, to complete the transition towards a zero-emission automotive industry by 2035, it is necessary to accelerate battery production, and Italvolt is ready to do its part.”

It is working with TÜV SÜD on the construction of the plant. The first phase of the new factory is scheduled for completion in 2024. TÜV SÜD has extensive expertise in the field of e-mobility and offers a comprehensive range of services for battery manufacturers all around the world .

TÜV SÜD will support Italvolt in the area of technical advisory services such as design review, risk assessment or fire protection services, with testing services such as battery testing, EMC or functional safety, inspection services and certification services such as TISAX, IATF 16949 and others.

“The overall objectives of the cooperation between the two companies are risk mitigation and sustainability topics such as sustainable battery production and sustainable and green supply chains,” said Oliver Jacob, CEO Western Europe of TÜV SÜD.

”Building the greenest battery manufacturing plant in the world needs world class partners to ensure our customers a truly green product. Our batteries must be homegrown and we need to be able to guarantee the whole supply chain. Beside the supply chain, TÜV SÜD will also support us with regard to our technology and production methods and we very much look forward to this very important collaboration,” said Carlstrom

This follows BristhVolt breaking ground at its plant in Blythe, Northmeberland, this week. Carlstrom set up BritishVolt but stepped down in December 2020 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.

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