The Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade is betting on the Plzeň region, in the Western part of the country, as the best location to open Czechia’s first gigafactory producing batteries for electric vehicles.
“This project is essential for the future of the Czech economy, in which the automotive industry plays the biggest role and its transformation is largely related to supporting clean mobility,” said the Minister of Industry and Trade, Jozef Síkela. “It may be the largest investment in the history of the Czech Republic and it will have a fundamental impact on maintaining the competitiveness of our automotive industry for decades to come.”
The Minister reminded that it is imperative to switch to electromobility: without a clean transformation of the industry, up to 37,000 jobs are at risk, as well as financial losses in the amount of 128 billion Koruna (approximately 5.2 billion euros).
Petr Očko, Deputy Minister for Digitisation and Innovation underlined that the government is having talks with the municipalities in order to meet all of their needs. Among them, the preservation of infrastructure for the needs of the army, which used the selected location as a reserve airport; and the conservation and protection of the surrounding environment.
“The gigafactory will create up to 4,000 highly qualified jobs,” added Mr Očko. “It is also an opportunity to acquire unique know-how in research, development and production of batteries and connect Czech universities to the battery centre of excellence in Salzgitter, Germany.”
The company that could take over the site is the Volkswagen Group which announced a decision to expand in Central Europe, after launching its own cell factory in Salzgitter, where production will start in 2025. The Group is actually considering also other neighbouring countries such as Poland and Hungary, already ‘experts’ in battery production: the LG factory in Wrocław is Europe’s largest and the world’s leading producer of lithium-ion batteries for the automotive industry, while CATL recently announced the construction of a 100 gigawatt-hours (GWh) battery plant in Hungary.