Verkor, a French industrial company based in Grenoble, was founded with a mission to fast-track low‑carbon battery production in France and serve the European market. Just last week, the company signed a partnership with Renault Group under which it will supply an initial capacity of at least 10 GWh per year for the C and higher segments of the Renault range, as well as for the Alpine models.
Verkor raises €100M
In a recent development, the company announced that it has raised €100M in a fresh round of funding. The round was co-led by EQT Ventures and Renault Group, with participation from the French Government and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region.
In addition, the investment also saw participation from EIT InnoEnergy, Groupe IDEC, Schneider Electric, Capgemini, Arkema, Tokai COBEX, and the Fund for Ecological Modernisation of Transport (FMET) managed by Demeter.
Speaking on the development, Maros Sefcovic, the EU Commission’s VP for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, says, “In three years, Europe has become a global hotspot for battery investment, showing that we can achieve open strategic autonomy in this key industrial sector. None of this would have been possible without the dedication and collaboration of all actors, including our innovative industrial actors and our Member States. France, with its strong commitment to sustainable mobility, is clearly among our leading forces.”
How will Verkor benefit from the new investors?
According to Verkor, it will now get the industrial expertise from new shareholders; Arkema, a chemicals company that offers specialty materials, and Tokai COBEX, a specialty manufacturer of low-carbon, ultra-efficient battery anode materials.
Demeter, a major energy transition private equity fund steps in with its Fund for Ecological Modernisation of transport (FMET), while the French Government, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region and Bpifrance will provide financial support for the R&D programme.
“With EIT InnoEnergy’s trusted European ecosystem, Groupe IDEC’s property development savoir-faire, Schneider Electric’s industrial manufacturing expertise and Capgemini’s applied science in intelligent industry, the foundations of the Verkor Innovation Centre and the future Gigafactory are now firmly in place,” mentions the press release.
Funds to support Europe’s net-zero goals
The raised funding will help the company’s expansion and the construction of the Verkor Innovation Centre (VIC), where the advanced battery cells and modules will be designed to support Europe’s net-zero goals.
Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the French Minister of Industry, says, “We are supporting Verkor’s growth through CORAM, the French orientation committee for automotive and mobility research, which is financed by the French future investment programme, the PIA. Our goal is to accelerate the development of innovative digital processes for battery cell manufacturing, which will be implemented in the future Gigafactory.”
The company reports that all the ten partners share the same vision; to build a competitive, sustainable, and local battery cell value chain in Europe. Verkor believes the VIC, which will be located in Grenoble and operational in 2022, is a major milestone in achieving this vision. It will accommodate for battery cell manufacturing, an R&D centre, testing facilities, module prototyping, and provide training for a new generation of engineers and technicians.
The company aims to deliver battery cell manufacturing capacity of 16 GWh in 2024, scaling to +50 GWh by 2030.
The company was founded in July 2020 by Benoit Lemaignan, Christophe Mille, Sylvain Paineau, Philippe Chain, Gilles Moreau, and Olivier Dufour. Verkor aims to increase the manufacturing of low‑carbon batteries to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.
The development of electric transport and stationary storage is increasing the demand for batteries. And Europe struggles to be competitive in a market which is still dominated by Asian and American manufacturers. In this regard, Verkor looks to bring together the best partners for establishing the entire value chain in Europe and ensuring the optimal use of skills and resources.
Verkor is spearheading a new business model; it wants to commit to a clean and locally-based technological future. The company looks to open its entirely digital 4.0 pilot line in 2022 – a model which will be integrated into the Gigafactory, due for construction in 2024.