LG Chem (IW 1000/231) is seeking to tap Europe’s booming electric car market by setting up a battery plant in Poland to supply automakers.
The company will invest 1.3 billion zloty (US$339.4 million) in the plant near Wroclaw, southwestern Poland by 2018 with a plan to manufacture 100,000 batteries annually starting in 2019. They will power electric vehicles with a maximum range of 320 kilometers, the Polish development ministry said.
“Investors like LG Chem fit very well into our development strategy,” Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said during a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the future facility in Biskupice. “We’re moving into a high-tech car industry, protecting the environment and boosting innovation.”
European automakers are pushing to make electric cars more appealing to consumers as regulators demand lower emissions. Volkswagen AG, which is still recovering from its scandal over diesel vehicles, has the most ambitious plans, with a target of selling at least 2 million electric cars by 2025, backed by rolling out 30 battery-powered cars in the coming years.
BMW AG will add an electric-powered Mini and X3 sport utility vehicle to its lineup, while Mercedes is targeting at least 10 battery-powered cars.
For Poland, home to a majority of the European Union’s most polluted cities, the deal is part of a strategy to bolster sagging investments by enticing foreign investors into its car industry.
The nation is in the final stage of negotiations with Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, which in May pledged to spend about 500 million euros (US$560 million) to build an engine factory, according to the deputy prime minister.
“In October or November we will make new steps in the auto industry,” Morawiecki said, without elaborating.
By Marek Strzelecki