PSA decides to take its time
On Monday, the supervisory board gave the management a mandate to “continue the work” on the Franco-German automotive battery plant project, postponing a final green light until later.
PSA continues to move at its own pace before definitively confirming its commitment to the Airbus battery project with Saft, the subsidiary of Total. Meeting on Monday, the carmaker’s supervisory board “gave a mandate” to the management to “continue work on the creation of a PSA-Opel-Total-Saft joint venture for the design, manufacture and marketing of battery modules”.
The project, launched at the end of 2017, has nevertheless made significant progress in recent weeks. On 9 December, the European Commission indicated that it would not oppose the payment of subsidies by France and Germany, a sine qua non condition for the project to go ahead.
And less than a week later, the Hauts-de-France region announced that it had entered into exclusive negotiations with PSA to set up in Douvrin, in the “Pas-de-Calais” region, one of the two production sites for battery cells and modules (the second is to be located in Germany, probably in Kaiserlautern).
A different timing than French government
The case therefore seemed ripe for approval by PSA’s supervisory board. Didn’t the Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, announce at the beginning of the month in the “Journal du Dimanche” that he would lay the first stone of the “pilot plant” to be built in Nersac (Charentes) on 24 January ?
But the builder is obviously not at this pace. “There are still studies to be carried out before a final green light can be given,” says a spokesman. The manufacturer seems to want to take every precaution before deciding to go ahead. The overall cost of the project, which is expected to exceed 5 billion euros, probably explains this caution, even though the government has promised 690 million euros in subsidies, while the Hauts-de-France and the local authorities concerned could release 121 million.