Major French Lithium Battery Factory Set to Challenge China’s Industry Dominance


Watch out, China; France just opened its very first large-scale electric vehicle (EV) battery factory – and it plans to give the global leader a run for its money.

Built near Lens, a region once known as the mining center of France, the Automotive Cell Company (ACC)’s massive factory is part of President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to reindustrialize the French economy.

A joint venture equally owned by TotalEnergies together with vehicle manufacturers Stellantis and Mercedes-Benz, ACC received around €1.3 billion worth of state aid from the governments of France, Germany, and Italy. This, in turn, is part of an even bigger initiative worth €7 billion which will see the construction of new battery production factories in the three countries.

France’s Biggest EV Battery Facility

Slated to begin production within the summer of 2023, the Lens facility is set to offer 400 jobs locally within the year – a number that could expand to around 1,000 employment opportunities – and produced up to 800,000 batteries per annum.

The factory’s location in northern France, around 40 miles away from the British coast, has been given the nickname Battery Valley, though it was previously known for its large concentration of coal mines and  flourished during the years of the Industrial Revolution.

Today, bolstered by government support, Battery Valley is seen as a strategic part of Macron’s roster of green initiatives which include tax credits for sustainably-operated companies and subsidies for the EV production sector. 

The French government hopes that these initiatives will bring in several billion euros’ worth of investments to help invigorate the country’s economy through green industries and new opportunities for employment.

Lens’ battery factory is the first of three such facilities, with two more planned for construction in Germany and Italy.