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Morocco aims to become the champion of electric batteries

1 min

The Moroccan government is in talks to attract more electric battery manufacturers as it seeks to adapt its growing automotive sector to an increasing demand for electric vehicles, industry and trade minister Ryad Mezzour said.

 

Ryad Mezzour © MPS

The Moroccan government is in talks to attract more electric battery manufacturers as it seeks to adapt its growing automotive sector to an increasing demand for electric vehicles, industry and trade minister Ryad Mezzour said.

The automotive sector tops Morocco's industrial exports at $14 billion in 2023, up 27%.

Morocco is home to production plants by Stellantis and Renault with an annual combined production capacity of 700,000 cars as well as a cluster of local suppliers.

Last week, the Moroccan government gave the green light for Chinese electric battery maker BTR New Material Group to build a factory near Tangier to produce key component cathodes.

"This is the first memorandum of understanding that we transformed into an investment agreement," Mezzour said in an interview with Reuters.

Another Chinese manufacturer, CNGR Advanced Material, is expected to build a cathode plant in Jorf Lasfar, 100 kilometres south of Casablanca, where the government has allocated 283 hectares to electric battery industries.

"BTR and CNGR or other plants will be able to supply gigafactories in Morocco and abroad," he said.

Last year, the Moroccan government and China's Gotion agreed to look into setting up an electric vehicle battery plant in the kingdom with up to $6.3 billion in eventual investment.

Gotion project is advancing with discussions on the footprint and location, Mezzour said.

"This will be a potential gigafactory," he said, referring to large-scale battery production plants.

Negotiations are also ongoing with five other manufacturers to set up similar plants, he said without giving further details.

While investing in batteries is "one of the paths to prepare the automotive sector for electric mobility requirements," the minister said that the next steps would be the car platform and the electro-motor.

By 2030, electric vehicles made in Morocco are planned to represent up to 60% of its exported cars, ahead of the EU's 2035 fossil-fuel car ban, he said.

Stellantis has a production capacity of 50,000 supermini electric cars in its Kenitra plant.

Renault plans to start producing a hybrid version of the Dacia Jogger seven-seater in the Tangier factory in the second half this year at a capacity of 120,000 cars annually.

"We are switching progressively our value chain and increasing it to be fit to deliver all our markets with a very competitive and integrated value chain," Mezzour said.

Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi

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