France’s Bolloré Group last week unveiled a $120 million upgrade to a lithium-metal-polymer battery factory in Boucherville, Québec, Canada.
The company, headed by CEO Vincent Bolloré, took over the factory in 2007. Bolloré told the Cleantech Group the upgrade is part of a $1.5 billion plan to create two battery facilities with annual production capacity of 30,000.
Lithium-metal-polymer batteries provide electric car makers an alternative to lithium-ion batteries. Bolloré claims over-heating problems with lithium-ion batteries – the type of battery used in laptop computers and mobile phones – will prevent their use in powering vehicles.
Bolloré Group has a facility in western France with production capacity of 5,000 batteries. The company plans to spend about $100 million to add a second building to expand the capacity to 15,000 by 2011.
The Boucherville plant is expected to produce 5,000 batteries annually by the end of 2009. Bolloré Group plans to expand the capacity to 15,000 within 18 months.
The group intends to supply batteries to Italy’s Pininfarina for the compact La BlueCar and to France’s Gruau Group for a small electric bus.
Bolloré Group acquired the Québec facility when it took over the failed French-Canadian battery maker Avestor in late 2006.