Chinese-Slovak venture signs deal for battery plant in Slovakia

(Reuters) – China’s Gotion High Tech and Slovak partner InoBat have signed a memorandum to build an electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Slovakia, the Slovak Economy Ministry said on Thursday.

Their venture, Gotion InoBat Batteries, aims to start production at the plant in 2026, initially producing EV batteries with a combined annual output of 20 gigawatt hours, the ministry said.

Gotion is an exclusive battery supplier to Volkswagen outside of China, the ministry said.

Gotion and startup InoBat had said in September they would jointly build an EV factory at an undisclosed site in Europe.

Countries have lined up to win investment in the sector amid European efforts to build out its own EV battery industry and reduce reliance on dominant Asian battery makers.

The Slovak plant will have potential to double its capacity in future, the ministry said.

Minister Denisa Sakova said the plant’s construction was key for the future of the car industry, which is a major driver for Slovakia’s economy.

The plant, in Surany, 93 km (58 miles) east of the capital Bratislava, will create up to 1,500 jobs, the ministry said.

The memorandum comes after the companies said earlier this year that Gotion was buying a 25% stake in InoBat and would provide the startup with supply chain and technology support as it scales up production of EV batteries.

(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Mark Potter)