Li-ion battery production is the backbone of the electric vehicle revolution and supply will have to increase significantly over the next few years to support the growth.
Tesla has the most ambitious plan with Gigafactory 1 having the same capacity as the entire industry at a single location, but the world will need 100 of those to transition to electric transport and renewable energy.
A few other companies have now announced similar plans. The latest one is a 50 GWh battery factory in Asia.
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Thailand-based Energy Absolute Pcl, a company developing solar projects, confirmed that it is preparing to spend up to 100 billion baht ($2.9 billion) on an important battery factory project that could produce up to 50 GWh of li-ion batteries per year.
CEO Amorn Sapthaweekul told Bloomberg this week that they have been in discussions for locations in 4 different countries, but they would prefer to stay local:
“We will choose just one location for the manufacturing plant. We would prefer to have the plant in Thailand, which will be beneficial for the country’s development. Still, we need to see clear government policy.”
The company already has a minority stake in battery cell manufacturer Amita Technologies Inc., but this new project will bring more battery capacity than the company has ever seen and complement their renewable energy projects.
They plan to announce the location by the end of the next quarter and have the first phase of the plant in operation by the end of 2018.
Not unlike Tesla with Gigafactory 1, they plan to build the factory in phases. The first phase will have a capacity of 1 GWh. They plan to first supply electric utilities for energy storage in order to stabilize electric grids in Asia, but they are also considering supplying electric vehicle manufacturers.
After projects like this one, Tesla Gigafactory, Mercedes’ new battery factory, and now Tesla plans for up to 4 more new Gigafactories, things are starting to look promising on the battery supply front.