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.