The number of gigafactories in the pipeline has surpassed 300 as the global rush to develop lithium ion battery production capacity continues.
There is now 6,387.6 gigawatt hours (GWh) of lithium ion battery capacity in the pipeline as assessed in Benchmark’s May 2022 Gigafactory Assessment, a 68% year-on-year increase.
China continues to dominate gigafactory announcements, but North America and Europe have seen significant growth over the past two years thanks in part to automaker and battery manufacturer joint ventures.
“Within the last year, with a push to achieve net zero goals and major OEMs and automakers looking to accelerate the electrification of their businesses, announcements for new gigafactories have picked up pace with Benchmark adding over a 100 new cell plants to its assessment since April 2021,” says Benchmark analyst Hanisha Tirumalasetty.
AUTOMAKER-BATTERY JOINT VENTURES DRIVE WESTERN GROWTH
Outside of China, North America has seen the fastest growth of any region, adding 11 gigafactories to its pipeline since this time last year. Europe has increased its pipeline by eight gigafactories over the same period.
Joint ventures between automakers and battery companies have been central to this growth. In September 2019, just one of the five North American gigafactories tracked by Benchmark directly involved an automaker – Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. Now, 14 of the 23 North American gigafactories in the pipeline are wholly or jointly owned by automakers, representing 81% of the region’s capacity pipeline for 2031.
Tesla has two solo factories in the region and one in partnership with Panasonic, representing about a third of the North American pipeline capacity. General Motors recently announced further partnerships with LGES, taking it up to four gigafactories in the region. Ford is partnered with SKI on three gigafactories.
In March, Stellantis partnered with LGES to develop a gigafactory in Canada, the first added to Benchmark’s Gigafactory Assessment for the country. It also partnered with Samsung SDI in the US. Through ACC, Stellantis will also operate three European gigafactories by 2031.
A third of the 30 European gigafactories assessed in May 2022 involved an automaker, representing 40% of the continent’s pipeline capacity, compared to just one of the 13 gigafactories in the September 2019 assessment.