BARCELONA -- Two companies are interested in converting Nissan's vehicle factory in Barcelona, Spain, for battery production, media reports said.
France's Schneider Electric and South Korea's LG Energy Solution have shown potential interest in producing batteries at the factory, the reports said.
Nissan plans to close the plant and two associated parts factories in December.
Catalan public channel TV3 has said LG's plan is to provide batteries for VW's Seat brand, which is considering building EVs at its factory in Martorell, near Barcelona, in 2025.
The regional government of Catalonia, where Barcelona is located, is backing a project to build a battery production and recycling plant in the region. The so-called Battery Hub project is seeking 6.8 billion euros ($8.25 billion) from Spain's 140 billion euro share of the EU's COVID-19 pandemic aid and will only go ahead if it secures the funding.
Although Spain is yet to decide on the use of the funds, one of the options being considered by authorities is to locate the Battery Hub project at Nissan's plant, said a source with direct knowledge of the process.
The factory which builds the Navara pickup and vans, is on publicly owned land.
The source said "many companies" had shown interest and authorities will consider how many jobs can be preserved when deciding who can set up shop there.
A task force on the plants' future formed by Nissan, government and union representatives has set a March 31 deadline for submission of formal proposals for use of the facilities. It has said other possible options include an electric vehicle plant or another electric mobility-related project.
Finding a solution for the plants is in the interests of both the Japanese automaker, which had received state aid and faced intense local opposition over its decision to shut them, and the national and regional governments hoping to preserve jobs.
Asked whether the Battery Hub could find a home at Nissan's plants, Pere Aragones, Catalonia's acting head of government, told Reuters: "That's one of the options that has been placed on the table but it's not the only one."
He declined to elaborate, but said Catalonia was an "excellent location" for a battery factory given the presence of automakers, such as Seat.
The regional government has said the battery project is backed by companies from the mobility and technology sectors, without naming them.
The source, as well as Joaquin Cano, CGT union leader at Nissan, said the EU funds, if granted, would help to convince investors interested in the facilities.
Nissan Spain and the Spanish government said the process was confidential and would not provide further comment.