Volkswagen says electric car production in Spain hinges on EU support

by SpeedLux
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Spanish automaker SEAT’s parent Volkswagen wants a strong commitment from Brussels to support a potential project to manufacture electric vehicles in Spain, the German group’s CEO Herbert Diess said on Friday.

The Spanish government declared on Thursday it will use European Union funds to form a public-private consortium with SEAT and power company Iberdrola that would build the nation’s first factory for electric-car batteries.

SEAT said last year it was thinking about producing a small electric vehicle in Spain from 2025, but tied it to get public aid as automakers increase the production of electric vehicles to meet stricter emissions regulations.

Diess told an event at SEAT’s plant located in Martorell near Barcelona, which was attended by Spanish King Felipe and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, that the possible project would include battery production and get EU’s coronavirus pandemic recovery funds, but stressed more backing was needed.

“We hope for the willingness of the European Commission to let this flagship project of historic importance for Spain and Europe become reality,” Diess said.

“The successful transformation of the Spanish auto industry will hinge upon a clear commitment by the European Commission,” he added, without describing further.

As Europe’s second-largest auto manufacturer, Spain has the potential to become an electric mobility hub, he said. SEAT-branded electric cars are presently manufactured in Germany and Slovakia.

SEAT Chairman Wayne Griffiths said his company was looking for a broad alliance with Iberdrola, phone operator Telefonica and Caixabank, and also other Spanish companies, to meet its electric mobility goal.

At SEAT’s plant, King Felipe said Spain’s strategy to develop electric vehicles was “irreversible” and that officials will provide their total support to the automotive sector, which represents 8% of the economy.

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