Renault, Minth Group agree to expand EV battery plant in France

Credit: Renault Group

Renault Group announced yesterday that it would be entering a joint venture with Chinese parts manufacturer Minth Group to expand an existing production facility to manufacture battery parts.

According to the press release, the two groups have been working together for a long time, but this is the first formalization of their relationship. The production facility will take advantage of existing Renault infrastructure, being an expansion of an existing plant in Northern France, the Ruitz plant, part of Renault’s ElectriCity. The new production facility will focus on “battery casings,” aiming to make 300,000 casings a year by 2025. The expansion will consist of two new production lines and aims to be up and running by early 2023.

Renault’s ElectriCity is the group’s foremost project converting old factories into new electric vehicle production areas, consisting of 3 facilities all located in Northern France; Douai, Maubeuge, and Ruitz. The combined output of these facilities is aimed to be 480,000 vehicles per year by 2025 and, according to Renault, will be Europe’s largest and most productive EV manufacturing facility.

“This new strategic partnership with Minth Group, alongside with our partnership with Envision AESC to set up a gigafactory in Douai to manufacture of latest technology, cost-competitive, low-carbon batteries allows Renault Group to position itself as a leading player in the entire value chain of electric vehicles,” Renault’s EVP of Industry Jose-Vicente de los Mozos said. “By integrating this new high-tech activity of battery casing assembly in Ruitz, this joint venture is perfectly in line with the group’s strategy to create a best-in-class ecosystem as close as possible to our production sites. This strategy will help Renault Group become a more competitive and efficient EV player, accelerate its industrial transformation, and reach its ecological transition targets. And in the meantime, we thus reaffirm our willingness to produce popular, affordable, and cost-effective electric cars in France”.

This comes at a time when the French brand is attempting to produce many new EV models very quickly in order to keep up with demand, already including the Zoe, the Zoe Van, the Megane, and supposedly an upcoming Renault 5.

While Renault is not the largest auto brand in Europe by any means, they have been a significant force for EV adoption; selling 115,000 electric vehicles in 2021 alone, according to InsideEVs. Renault has even been a pioneer in EV sales via their battery lease program, a system that allows customers to buy a vehicle at a lower upfront cost, while also removing the worry of battery degradation as the manufacturer maintains ownership.

This shift to increased manufacturer autonomy and innovative selling strategy may indicate that Renault is more prepared than other brands to switch to EVs, especially after more recent news that the group has even considered selling the Nissan brand in order to fund their switch to electric mobility.

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Renault, Minth Group agree to expand EV battery plant in France
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