Construction has today begun on a first-of-its-kind electric vehicle (EV) battery R&D centre and pilot line in Slovakia, integrating proprietary R&D activities together with battery cell-manufacturing capabilities under one roof.
Set to be operational in early 2022, the new battery centre is being built by leading European electric vehicle battery developer and producer, InoBat Auto (“InoBat”), who is developing premium batteries which can be quickly and efficiently tailored to meet the specifications of any electric vehicle.
Powered by green energy through grid electricity and solar panels, the 290,000 ft²(27,000m²) site will create up to 150 skilled jobs, and will include a technical training centre, modern office space, research labs and manufacturing line. InoBat, who purchased the existing brownfield site to reduce the need for carbon intensive construction methods, will use the new battery centre, to identify the optimum cell chemistries to meet the exact requirements of any vehicle maker or manufacturer faster and more efficiently than competitors.
Co-Founder and CEO of InoBat Auto, Marian Bocek, celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony alongside Boris Kollar, Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, Vazil Hudak, the EU SME Convoy, Faysal Sohail, InoBat’s Chairman, and InoBat’s Vice Chair, Andy Palmer, who was responsible for building the UK’s first electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in 2009 during his time as Chief Operating Officer of Nissan.
European Commission Vice-President, Maroš Šefčovič, in charge of the European Battery Alliance, said: “I am delighted that the private sector is maintaining the momentum built up by the European Battery Alliance. This ambitious new InoBat Auto project represents another significant stepping stone towards building a competitive, innovative and sustainable battery value chain here in Europe. This will help bolster our strategic autonomy and protect millions of jobs in the face of increasing global competition – particularly important in Central Europe.”
“The European Commission will therefore continue to mobilise all industrial actors, Member States and the European Investment Bank to shift things into a higher gear – leveraging investment, establishing a fit-for-future regulatory framework, building our raw materials resilience and upskilling people to meet the fast-growing needs of the battery ecosystem – so that our automotive industry can stay out in front.”
The site, located 40km outside of Bratislava in Voderady, is situated in the centre of Central Europe’s automotive hub, with more than 4.25 million vehicles produced annually in a 500 km radius from the facility. InoBat is also preparing to build a 1GWh Gigafactory in Voderady, Slovakia before scaling up to a 32GWh Gigafactory to support and serve the international market at scale.
Marian Bocek, Co-Founder and CEO of InoBat, commented: “On behalf of InoBat, our partners and our dedicated investors, we are thrilled construction is now underway and look forward to rapidly developing the newest battery technology to help accelerate the much-needed electrification of all forms of transport from our world-class hub here in Slovakia.”
“Our new home, which sits in the heart of the European vehicle and automaker ecosystem, will become a centre of excellence for battery development, and we look forward to working with current and future partners to deliver the best batteries customised directly to meet exact specifications for electric vehicle in the automotive, aviation, commercial and industrial sectors.”
The landmark event comes just five weeks after InoBat signed a landmark agreement with SOR, one of the largest producers of city and intercity-buses in Central Europe, with the intention to design, develop and supply batteries for a new urban, intercity and long-distance electric bus fleet.
InoBat has also announced a strategic partnership with leader in automation, industrial software and intelligent infrastructure, Siemens, to digitalize InoBat’s entire value chain for electric vehicle battery production. InoBat will use Siemens’ solutions to develop a holistic digital factory approach throughout its R&D battery centre and production line, which was designed by architectural firm, Takenaka.
InoBat is backed by a strong consortium of investors and technology companies, including lead investor IPM Group (IPM) – the fastest growing InfraTech asset managers who specialise in bringing ground-breaking technologies from Silicon Valley to Europe – strategic investors and partners include CEZ (strategic investment of EUR 10m) Matador, AEN, MSM Group, Across and Wildcat Discovery Technologies.