Business 04/03/2021

Seat, Iberdrola and the State will set up the first plant for electric car batteries near Martorell

The plant will allow the Catalan brand to manufacture electric cars in its own factory

2 min
The new president of Seat, Wayne Griffiths, with the Cupra Formentor.

BarcelonaSeat, with its parent company Volkswagen, the electric company Iberdrola and the Spanish government will set up a battery plant near Martorell to boost the manufacture of electric cars. This was announced on Thursday by the Minister of Industry, Reyes Maroto, during the congress of the industry federation of trade union UGT. A few days ago the president of Seat, Wayne Griffiths, explained that the brand was in advanced talks with the Spanish government to manufacture electric cars in Martorell.

"There are quite advanced discussions with the Spanish government" so that the plant can manufacture an electric car in 2025, Griffiths said on February 22, but demanded a firm commitment to electrification and a battery plant "nearby" from the Spanish executive. These conversations have already borne fruit, according to the minister.

Maroto explained that this project "will allow the development of a set of actions that guarantee that Spain has the necessary facilities for the autonomous and competitive manufacture of a completely connected electric vehicle". Maroto said that this plant shows the Spanish government's commitment for Spain to remain a world leader in the automotive industry "committed to sustainable mobility".

The plant will be a public-private consortium, participated by the State, the Volkswagen group and Iberdrola. Having a battery plant was the key to opens the door to an investment plan of €5bn that Seat announced last summer to advance towards the electric car. With this plant, Seat in Martorell and Volkswagen's plant in Navarra will be able to become manufacturers of the Volkswagen Group's small and affordable electric car.

The announcement came just a day before King Felipe and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez visit the Seat plant in Martorell to mark the 70th anniversary of the Catalan brand, in an event that will be hosted by Seat president Wayne Griffiths, but also the Volkswagen group's top executive, Herbert Diess.

European funds

The consortium to start up this battery plant will be open to new partners. This project will be eligible for European recovery funds, as the minister has indicated that it forms part of the first of the strategic projects for recovery and economic transformation with which these European funds are to be articulated. These projects should boost the recovery thanks to Next Generation European funds. In the next three years Spain will receive €72bn of these funds.

Maroto said that the project will allow the integration of the entire value chain, and the Seat plant in Martorell will be able to have a battery factory nearby.

Seat is working on a strategy to electrify its range. In recent months it has introduced hybrid versions of some of its models, but the Martorell factory is not yet ready to produce 100% electric cars. The company only has one all-electric model at present, the Mii, which is not made in Spain, and later this year it plans to put another 100% electric model on the market, the Cupra el-Born, which will not be made in Martorell either.

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