The Volkswagen factory in Sagunto will have the capacity to produce 150 million battery cells per year for half a million annual vehicles produced at the VW plants in Pamplona and Seat in Martorell. In addition, PowerCo, the subsidiary of the German group for the battery business, will supply part of this production, 1.2 million cells, to Ford for the production of its vehicles in Europe. It was announced yesterday by the managers of the German multinational at the ceremony of the foundation stone of the future factory that will be operational in 2026. An event attended by King Felipe VI, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, the Minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto, and the president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig.
The CEO of Seat, Wayne Griffiths, also confirmed the objective of increasing the capacity of Lade Sagunto by 50% to exceed the planned 40 GWh. "There were many who doubted this project, but we always trusted in the support of the Spanish institutions; we wanted to speed it up, with a joint investment for the Martorell, Sagunto and Pamplona plants of 10,000 million euros", said the head of the firm. He added that "Spain is the second producer of cars in Europe and we cannot lose this privileged position". In addition, Griffiths underlined the company's desire to "democratize mobility" by making electric car models more accessible to citizens.
In the event held on the land where the gigafactory is being built, Thomas Schmall, director of Volkswagen, offered new data on the Valencian plant. He announced that "we will produce cells sustainably with renewable energy". The factory will cover more than 200 hectares and will incorporate a battery recycling plant, one of the big news. It will also have a supply plant and a training center coordinated with the Polytechnic University of Valencia [UPV]. "We are building a battery campus and will manufacture with 100% green energy," he said.
Felipe VI gave the Sagunto plant as an example: "The car industry is a transforming lever for the country and Spain wants to be a complete electric mobility hub in Europe and connected to the manufacture of electric vehicles. This factory is a project that is going in the right direction, a great bet for the future".
"It's a day of celebration, we're laying the foundation stone for the first Spanish gigafactory," added Griffiths, who also emphasized that the Sagunto factory is a key piece for an electric mobility hub in Europe, with the capacity to generate a direct impact of 21,000 million euros".
Pedro Sánchez, for his part, affirmed that Sagunto is a key piece for "Spanish reindustrialization; it exemplifies the commitment to innovation and our commitment to the automotive industry". On this issue, he recalled that the automobile sector employs two million people in Spain and accounts for 8% of GDP. "Sagunto will become a major hub for one of the largest industrial investments aimed at reducing CO2 emissions," he added. Finally, Ximo Puig assessed that the effort to clean up the bad reputation of the Valencian Community "has been worth it".
Since its launch in July 2022, subsidiary PowerCo has chosen three sites to set up battery cell factories: Salzgitter in Germany, Sagunt and St. Thomas in Ontario (Canada). The first two are already under construction.