March 7, 2022
This announcement is an important step in Verkor’s roadmap as it continues its industrial development in France and the launch of its operations in Grenoble. Verkor wanted to stay in the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region, where it was founded in July 2020, to set up its headquarters in its factory, to be known as the Verkor Innovation Centre. The former Schneider Electric site (22 rue Henri Tarze 38000 Grenoble) on the burgeoning Presqu’ile campus in Grenoble seemed an obvious choice. Founded in 1920, Merlin Gerin set up shop there to deploy its “revolutionary” high-voltage circuit breaker, which would earn the company its reputation, and later became Schneider Electric. Paul-Louis Merlin, together with the physicist Louis Neel and the dean of the faculty Louis Weil, was responsible for the creation of the Grenoble university campus, the basis of this research, training, and industrial ecosystem, which motivated Verkor’s choice of location.
“A new chapter is being written with Verkor and its teams at this historic industrial site. It is a source of great pride for us, and we wanted to keep the Merlin Gerin logo when renovating the building, which will remain visible on the façade from our VIC.” explains Benoit Lemaignan, Chairman of the Verkor Management Board.
The battery market is undergoing constant industrial and technological change. This dynamic requires flexible innovation capabilities. The VIC will act as a catalyst for Verkor and the French battery value chain to develop innovative products and processes. The more than 12,000 m² of space in the very heart of the ecosystem is the right fit for the VIC. An R&D laboratory will allow for products to be innovated, designed and approved before their production is scaled up at other sites. An intelligent pilot line with a capacity of 50 to 150 MWh will produce cells for small batches and the first cells for the batteries of Renault vehicles. The VIC will be a proving ground for manufacturing digital innovations that will lead to cost savings and a new generation of IP (Intellectual Property) creating over 250 direct jobs.
The VIC will also host the Battery Campus, which will be a place for the battery ecosystem, start-ups, and partners interested in this sector. Pooling resources will accelerate time-to-market for innovations in this field. The VIC will be a training and retraining facility for jobs related to the energy transition; the content will be co-constructed by international experts.
The Verkor Innovation Centre laboratory will open before the summer of 2022.