The European Commission greenlights France’s financial support to battery manufacturer Verkor for research on lithium-ion battery production processes, citing economic development and Verkor’s commitment to knowledge-sharing as key factors in the approval.
The European Commission has given its approval for €659 million in funding from the French government to support battery manufacturer Verkor in its research and development efforts related to lithium-ion battery production processes. The funding, in line with EU state aid rules, will extend until the end of 2026 and aims to achieve various objectives, including the automation of electrode production and battery design through digitalisation, improvements in recycling techniques, material recovery, and the establishment of an innovative pilot production line intended to facilitate large-scale battery production, as outlined in the EU Commission’s communication.
The Commission’s decision to approve this financial support is based on several factors. It acknowledges that the French government’s investment contributes to the growth of economic activity and serves as an incentive for the beneficiary, Verkor, to engage in research and development activities for lithium-ion batteries, which they might not undertake without public support. Additionally, the amount of aid provided was deemed proportionate, and it was accompanied by sufficient guarantees to prevent undue competition distortions.
Furthermore, Verkor has committed to sharing the technical knowledge and insights gained from the project with both the industry and the scientific community, which adds to the favorable disposition for the approval.
EU Commissioner for Competition Policy, Didier Reynders, commented on the decision, stating, “With this €659 million measure, France can support Verkor’s research and development project on innovative production processes for lithium-ion batteries while limiting distortions of competition. This is another project that will help promote an innovative battery value chain for electric vehicles in Europe.”
Notably, Verkor had previously announced its intentions to secure over two billion euros in fresh capital, including funding from its Series C financing round and 650 million euros in grants from the French government, pending the approval of state aid.
Currently, Verkor is in the process of constructing its battery cell factory in Dunkerque, located in northern France, with plans to achieve a production capacity of 16GWh by 2025. There are further expansion plans to increase production to 50GWh by 2030. The company’s research and development activities, along with pilot production, are centered in Grenoble.