October 10, 2018 / 2:40 PM / 7 days ago

Germany to unveil battery cell consortium on November 13: Tagesspiegel

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s economy minister will present plans on Nov. 13 for a consortium to set up a battery cell factory in Germany, supported by 1 billion euros ($1.15 billion) of government financing, German daily Tagesspiegel reported.

The consortium is to include Germany’s Varta Microbattery and Ford’s German unit Ford-Werke GmbH, the paper said on Wednesday, citing no sources.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier’s plan sees a second factory being set up in the Lausitz region on the German-Polish border, which would receive an additional 1 billion euros in start-up financing from the German government, it added.

The Economy Ministry declined to confirm the report, saying only that it was confident that Altmaier would present progress on battery cell production by the end of the year.

“There are parties interested in this, but we will not comment on ongoing talks,” the ministry said.

Varta and Ford-Werke were not immediately available for comment.

Battery cells are a key battleground in the automotive industry as it shifts to electric mobility.

The industry currently sources its requirements from Asian manufacturers such as CATL, which plans to build its first European production site in Germany.

German Chancellor Merkel said last month it was “extremely important” that the Europe Union develop its own battery cell production to secure its role in the automotive industry.

($1 = 0.8676 euros)

Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Rene Wagner; Editing by Edmund Blair

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