The group Volkswagen will install its battery plant in Spain in Sagunto (Valencia), with a maximum capacity of 40 gigawatt hours (GWh) and one staff made up of more than 3,000 people. This gigafactory is part of an investment effort by the German consortium, which will mobilize 7,000 million euros and will be dedicated to electric cars that it plans to build in Spain. Other communities such as Aragon, Extremadura and Catalonia also opted for the project.
To choose Sagunto, the company has taken into account its logistics connections, infrastructure and the existence of qualified personnel, which guarantees “speed” in the distribution of battery cells to the Martorell and Pamplona plants.
the president of seatsWayne Griffiths, and the chairman of the board of directors of volkswagenThomas Schmall, have confirmed the choice of Sagunto to host this key infrastructure for the transformation of the Spanish automobile industry at the press conference to present the 2021 Seat results.
Schmall has stated that this investment depends on the definitive approval of the Electric Vehicle Perte (VEC Perte) and pointed out that the decision was due to the study of more than 100 variables. “It will be the largest industrial investment ever made in Spain,” Griffiths assured, after pointing out that in the coming days or weeks they will submit the application to qualify for PERTE aid.
Of these 7,000 million euros, the president of Seat has advanced that some 3,000 would correspond to the electrification of the Martorell plantwhere foresees manufacture 500,000 electric cars a year from 2025. Another 300,000 vehicles will also be assembled at the German consortium’s other factory in Pamplona.
“All plans and investments are still subject to the final allocation of PERTE funds“, pointed out the director of Seat. In addition to manufacturing electric vehicles in Barcelona and Pamplona, the announced funds will serve to locate the value chain for the production of electric batteries in Valencia, which will be the second of the consortium after that of Germany.
“In Valencia, we will manufacture nothing less than the next generation of cells: a standardized factory, which will produce the innovative Volkswagen unified cell and will be supplied with renewable energy, which will allow a sustainable battery production. The plant will also create a strong knock-on effect throughout the entire battery value chain in Spain and beyond the country,” he explained.
Despite admitting that the electric car represents “a risk” for employment, due to the lower workload it requires, he has emphasized that it is “a historic opportunity that we cannot miss”. “The transformation of Spain has to take place now. There is no plan B”, she has affirmed.
The battery cell plant will have an annual production capacity of 40 GWh and is expected to be up and running “as soon as possible”, in 2026, so the works should start at the end of this year.
Public aid to be able to buy electric vehicles
“It will be the largest industrial investment ever made in Spain,” said Griffiths, who has also announced that in the coming days and weeks they will submit the application to qualify for PERTE aid for Electric Vehicles.
The president of Seat has shown his confidence that the plans of the consortium in Spain, which go through produce from 2025 about 500,000 electric cars at the Martorell plant (Barcelona)in addition to hundreds of thousands of others in Pamplona.
Griffiths has affirmed that “you have to go out to win”, but has admitted that they cannot do it “alone”, for which he has requested the help from the Government and the autonomous communities to improve the charging infrastructure and aid for the purchase of electric vehicles.
In choosing Sagunto, the manager has ensured that its logistical connections and the location of the plant and its infrastructure have been taken into account, which guarantees “speed” in the distribution of battery cells to the German group’s plants in Martorell and Pamplona.
In addition, he has indicated that this decision has been made in response to the need to reach a “balance of the country”, since the Perte of the electric car demands the participation of several autonomies.
With a view to recovery after the pandemic and the semiconductor crisis
In the same press conference, Seat has presented its economic results for 2021a year in which the drop in production due to the lack of semiconductors caused losses of 256 million euros, 32% more than those registered a year before, which reached 194 million euros.
Griffiths has framed this data in the context of an “unexpected” year for the company, as it hoped to return to profitability after a difficult 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic.
Despite the production limitation, the company’s two brands, Seat and Cupra, returned to pre-pandemic levels and deliveries grew by more than 10%from 427,000 to 471,000 cars.
According to the data provided at a press conference, Seat registered a negative operating result of 371 million euros, compared to 418 million in 2020, and the result after taxes was 256 million. On the other hand, the company has announced a new electrified SUV for Cupra with ‘mild-hybrid’ and ‘plug-in-hybrid’ versions that will arrive in 2024.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.