Renault plugs into premium EV battery deal with start-up Verkor

PARIS, April 13 (Reuters) – Renault (RENA.PA) said on Thursday it had entered a long-term commercial partnership with French start-up Verkor to produce batteries for the carmaker’s premium and Alpine electric models.

The targeted capacity of 12 gigawatt hours (GWh), enough to power more than 100,000 vehicles, would make Renault the biggest client of Verkor’s planned “gigafactory” in Dunkirk, which is aiming for a total capacity for batteries equivalent to 16 GWh.

The move is part of Renault’s efforts to secure crucial components and seize control of the value chain of its future unit Ampere, dedicated to electric vehicles and software which it plans to list on the stock market by the end of the year.

Renault shares traded around 1.3% higher after the news, outperforming other stocks listed on the Stoxx Europe 600 Automobiles index (.SXAP), which was up 0.6%.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Verkor has so far raised 360 million euros ($397 million) from investors and is in the process of raising more through equity and debt.

Alpine, Renault’s relaunched high-performance sports car brand which also supplies a Formula One racing team, grew its revenues by a third last year, selling just over 3,500 cars. The historic Alpine brand was world rallying champion in 1973.

The first car using the Verkor batteries will be the Alpine C-Crossover GT, which Renault plans to start building in 2025.

Envision AESC, a Japanese subsidiary of Chinese group Envision, will also provide batteries to Renault for use in smaller and less powerful vehicles from another plant located in Douai, also in northern France.

This is targeting an overall capacity of 9 GWh by 2024.

Also in the north of France, ACC – a subsidiary of Renault’s domestic rival Stellantis (STLAM.MI), TotalEnergies and Mercedes (MBGn.DE) – plans to establish a battery plant to deliver 24 GWh of batteries by the end of the decade.

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Reporting by Gilles Guillaume, writing by Tassilo Hummel, editing by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Alexander Smith