France Winning Gigafactory Race for European BEVs

France looks like it has won the charm offensive in attracting automotive battery producers to site their gigafactories in the country.

Reuters reports that President Emmanuel Macron successfully rolled out the red carpets for ProLogium’s CEO Vincent Yang during a meeting as part of the 5th edition of the “Choose France” Business Summit, at the Palace of Versailles last year. Now the battery maker has picked Dunkirk for its first BEV gigafactory outside Taiwan ahead of competing sites in Germany and the Netherlands.

It is one of four gigafactories planned for France as it tries to catch up in the race to advance its domestic automotive industry’s access to locally made battery packs for their BEV products. France won the latest lap in the gigafactory race thanks to generous government subsidies together with Macron’s cuts in corporate tax, employment laws that make hiring and firing easier and reductions in a production tax based on the size of factories.

The other three gigafactories planned include China’s Envision AESC, local start-up Verkor and the ACC consortium including Mercedes and Stellantis are setting up gigafactories in the same area former mining area. Macron told Reuters in Dunkirk: “Results don’t just fall from the sky. It’s in line with what we’ve been doing for six years. France is adapting to the world.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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