Volkswagen says $10B electric vehicle, battery factories to go ahead in Spain

The Volkswagen Group has confirmed that a €10 billion ($10 billion) project to make electric cars and batteries in Spain will go ahead.

The highly-anticipated project had been on shaky territory recently after the company expressed concerns over government subsidies.

However, Wayne Griffiths, CEO of Spanish carmaker SEAT, which the Volkswagen Group owns, said Wednesday that his company and the others involved would accept the €397 million that the government is offering to support the project.

According to SEAT, the combined investment of the Volkswagen Group and around 60 other firms will be the largest industrial investment in Spain’s history.

A key part of the project includes building the Volkswagen Group’s first in-house battery factory, or gigafactory, outside Germany.

With a production capacity of 40 gigawatts, it will be able to supply all the batteries needed to make electric cars in two nearby factories, according to SEAT.

That factory alone is set to create 3,000 jobs by 2030, SEAT says.

Griffiths called the announcement “a historic milestone” for the companies and said it will “maintain Spain’s global competitivity.”

“Turning [Spain] into a hub for electric vehicles in Europe is a highly important project — for us, for the people in Spain and the whole of Europe,” tweeted the Volkswagen Group.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez gave his government a pat on the back while celebrating the “extraordinary” news.

“SEAT and Volkswagen have said that they are committed to the future of the automobile sector in our country and by creating a gigafactory in Valencia. Just a few days ago, I was also with a Chinese company … talking about building another gigafactory in Extremadura,” he said at a party conference on Wednesday.

Sanchez added that last week Spain signed an agreement with shipping giant Maersk to explore becoming a hub for green maritime fuel. That project would also attract around €10 billion in investment.

“If this shows anything, it’s Spain’s extraordinary potential, the confidence that the country inspires in big international companies and investors, and why not say it, the economic policy of the Spanish government,” added the Socialist Party leader.

Source: Anadolu Agency