Germany's Tesvolt is upgrading its giga-factory plant in Lutherdtadt Wittenberg, in Saxony-Anhalt (source). Set to launch in 2024, Tesvolt's expansion will provide up to 4GWh production capacity to manufacture industrial and commercial-scale energy storage batteries, using lithium-ion materials.
Tesvolt is investing around €60 million to fabricate two new production complexes and will also renovate its existing manufacturing premises. As many as 80,000 battery storage systems will roll from its upgraded factory lines every year, making it one of Europe's "largest" commercial stationary battery plants.
The project, due to begin in Spring, is further evidence of the push to fund new build giga-factory capacity within EU borders.
State subsidies of up to €12 million are thought to be on the table from regional development investor Investitionsbank Sachsen-Anhalt, and Saxony-Anhalt prime minister Reiner Haseloff predicted Tesvolt's expansion would put his state on the map.
"With this highly ambitious investment project, TESVOLT will set a landmark in Saxony-Anhalt that cannot be overlooked by the German and international markets.
"The company is expanding and consolidating the activities that it began in Lutherstadt Wittenberg in 2014. It is pleasing that, in addition to the expansion of its production capacity, investments are also being made in the company's own research and development.
"This is an important step towards solid and regional value creation from an idea to the finished product. This way, TESVOLT is contributing to the success of a sustainable energy transition.”
Europe's shift to EVs and wider-scale industry electrification have sparked a frenzy to assemble new battery plants and find investment to cover the cost. According to the European Commission, about 20 EU battery cell gigafactories were under development, as of February 2022, with 111 industrial battery projects of all sizes in the pipeline.
EV sales reached a 17.2% market share in 2021, despite a demand blip caused by supply issues. Overall, EU electricity consumption is predicted to soar 50% by 2030.
Without new giga-factories, the EU's EV and other battery supply chains would depend on external suppliers for some of its stock, leaving it exposed to supply curtailments such as in 2021's global semiconductor shortage.
By 2030, projections suggest EU giga-factories will cope with 89% of incremental battery demand. But securing supply chains up to that point remains a challenge, with over 30% of batteries likely to be imported in 2025.
Tesvolt's growth journey started in 2017. Its technology was originally billed as supporting the world's longest-lasting performance lithium-ion storage.
With the new giga-factory, Tesvolt is expecting a 10-fold increase on its current capacity, across its E-series and A-series models as well as future production lines. Flexible, industrial robots will be deployed while fully-automated racking systems should quadruple battery warehousing capacity, providing an option to build strategic reserves.
Tesvolt batteries range from 9.6 KWh into the MWh range, making them suitable for various stationary commercial and industry applications. Many have been bought to supply backup or off-grid electricity, to optimise use of emergency generators, and to keep EV charging points running at optimal performance.
Tesvolt is also taking the opportunity to double down on talent recruitment. Its new state-of-the-art facilities will likely help bring talent on board, and this is at a time when Germany has courted free agents laid off by US big tech companies.
Tesvolt will employ 400 new workers in R&D, logistics and project planning, though this was stated to be a long-term objective.
Wide-scale automation and factory robots will likely require AI skill-sets, and the design team has set out plans for a training school, lecture halls, and lifestyle amenities, all likely to strengthen the talent appeal.
Net zero is another priority — a collective of small wind turbines, solar PV and heat pumps should ensure battery production is entirely carbon neutral on launch.
Daniel Hannemann, TESVOLT CEO and co-founder, commented: "With this milestone we are contributing to an increase in international independence for the European energy transition. The new Gigafactory will help us strengthen our home region, and Germany, as a leading location for the energy transition. At the same time, we are reinforcing our mission to bring affordable, clean energy to every corner of the world.”