Saft, a subsidiary of French oil giantTotal, has signed an agreement with Tianneng Energy Technology (TET), a subsidiary of the Chinese privately-owned Tianneng Group, to create a joint venture to expand their lithium-ion activity. Manufacturing will be based at the Changxing Gigafactory, with a potential capacity of 5.5 GWh, of which ‘several GWh’ are already in operation. Saft will have a 40% shareholding in the new JV, while the Tianneng Group will hold the remaining shares.
The JV will primarily focus on the development, manufacturing and sales of advanced Li-ion cells, modules and packs for China and worldwide markets. E-bikes and electric vehicles (EV), as well as energy storage solutions, will be the target markets.
The partners also plan to expand the Changxing facility to ramp up its production capacity to meet future growing demand, mainly driven by e-mobility sales and the development of renewables.
"This is a first strategic move driven by Total, following the acquisition of Saft in 2016, to increase Saft's activity in China, the world’s largest renewables market, as well as in the ESS segment as an essential component to the large scale development of intermittent renewable energies," said Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of Total. “The JV will allow Saft to join forces with a Chinese partner, a world leading lead acid battery manufacturer, willing to develop its lithium-ion activities. It will also give Saft access to China’s booming battery market as well as highly-competitive mass production capacity to accelerate its growth.”
The Tianneng Group is the leading privately-owned Chinese battery manufacturer. Founded in 1986 it has around 20 000 employees and eight production sites across China. Tianneng Energy Technology is a 100 % subsidiary that consolidates all of the group’s Li-ion production.