Wildcat Discovery, InoBat to build electric car battery line in Slovakia

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Slovak group InoBat and U.S. energy tech firm Wildcat Discovery Technologies will build a 100 million euro ($111 million) automotive battery production line in Slovakia, with the aim of meeting future demand from central Europe’s carmakers.

The companies said on Friday construction on the 100 MWh line, able to produce 1,500 batteries annually initially, should start in the first half of 2020 and distribution will begin by the end of 2021.

Eventually, they said, they wanted to upgrade the line to 10 GWh in the long term, boosting capacity to 150,000 batteries.

“(Wildcat’s) proprietary technology has the potential to revolutionize the entire European electric vehicle batteries industry,” InoBat co-founder Marian Bocek said in a statement.

The companies are in talks with the European Investment Bank (EIB), they said.

Wildcat develops technology combining high throughput experimentation (HTP) and artificial intelligence, and has worked with both automakers and consumer electronics groups, including Toyota and Samsung Electronics.

The car sector is increasingly shifting to electric and the European Union is seeking to support battery production.

The electric car battery production line would be the first in Slovakia, which is the world’s biggest per-capita car producer. Central Europe is home to several car plants, making the sector important to the region’s economies.

South Korean battery maker LG Chem has already set up a production base in Poland while SK Innovation is due to launch in Hungary, where Samsung SDI is already.

Reporting By Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle