PARIS – Verkor, a French battery startup partly owned by Renault Group, said it has secured more than 2 billion euros ($2.15 billion) in funding to build a gigafactory on the northeast French coast in Dunkirk, thanks mainly to a capital increase from investors including infrastructure funds and insurers.
The funding consists of 850 million euros in capital -- the largest ever fund-raising for a French tech startup, according to a French government source -- 600 million euros in loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and 650 million euros in state subsidies that await European Commission approval.
A co-founder of the Grenoble-based start-up told Reuters last week that Verkor was near to completing the first tranche of financing for the Dunkirk gigafactory, one of the four sites in a "battery valley" in northern France.
The Verkor gigafactory should create 1,200 direct jobs and 3,000 indirect jobs, and start production in mid-2025. It will have an initial production capacity of 16 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, including 12 for Renault Group.
Renault, an early supporter of Verkor, will see its stake diluted in this new phase to 10% from 24%. The French carmaker should retain a seat on the board of directors, said a source close to Renault.
Renault says it will use batteries built by Verkor in high-performance and “upper segment” models from Renault brand and Alpine, which Renault is developing into a full-fledged, EV-focused brand. The first model expected to use Verkor batteries is the Alpine GT compact SUV, due in 2025.