Morocco is participating in one with the Gigafactory project to produce batteries for electric cars, announced on July 21 in Marrakech by Ryad Mezzour unstoppable transformation of the global automotive industry towards electric.
The Minister of Industry and Trade has repeatedly expressed the wish for Morocco to quickly integrate the narrow circle of countries that produce electric cars. In fact, this has already happened with production at the Stellantis factory in Kenitra; Citroën Ami and Opel Rocks-e models. The initiatives are multiplying to offer Morocco the necessary conditions to win this bet.
The electric battery industry, a heralded success?
“The next logical step in the development of our automotive industry platform is battery deployment, as our main market (the European Union) has made important announcements in terms of mobility transformation, a full transformation towards an electric ‘Horizon 2035’, said Ryad Mezzour at the microphone of Médias24, on the sidelines of the US-Africa Business Summit.
He also announced that Discussions were held with four to five operatorswhich could lead to the installation of a gigafactory of batteries in Morocco before the end of the year, which will serve the kingdom’s and neighboring countries’ factories.
On June 2, on the occasion of an agreement signed between the group Renault and Managem, Ryad Mezzour, have already argued that a process to develop the electric battery segment is underway.
Under this agreement, the Moroccan mining group will supply the French manufacturer cobalt used for the production of electric batteries. Although not clearly announced, everything indicated that this battery factory would be located in Moroccosince Mohamed Bachiri, Director of Renault Morocco, explained on that occasion that the level of integration would include for the first time the raw material extracted from Moroccan soil.
As a matter of fact, Morocco is a producer of cobalt, nickel and phosphate, minerals that go into the manufacture of the electric battery. For lithium, however, he has to supply himself from abroad.
And this without considering the speculation about the potential of Mount Tropic or possible lithium finds in southern Morocco. On the other hand, the Kingdom has very good relations with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Chile, which hold almost 50% of the world’s reserves of cobalt and lithium respectively.
As Morocco has an already well-established automotive industry and large renewable energy production plants (requiring new generation batteries for storage), the electric battery industry already has a significant local market. If we add raw material capacities, Morocco has every chance of entering this industry of the future.
A breakthrough in the strategic segment of semiconductors
In addition to batteries, another strategic segment in the automotive industry is electronic chips or semiconductors. With advances in safety systems, autonomous driving and the Internet of Things (IOT) have become cars real computers on wheels.
A Tesla can hold up to 3,000 chips around a hundred for a classic car. With the electrification and automation of cars, the semiconductor demand in the industry will triple by 2028.
After the sudden and sharp recovery of the global economy following the Covid crisis, the automotive sector was hit hardest by the semiconductor shortage; The existing offering is mainly sold in the electronic products market, especially smartphones, which offer higher margins.
However, in this complicated environment, Morocco made a major breakthrough in this high-tech industry thanks to one of the main players in the market. ST microelectronics. The Bouskoura factory of the Franco-Italian multinational has invested $250 million to prepare for new manufacturing technologies Latest generation chips.
The factory, which supplies American giant Tesla, has hired around 700 workers since 2021. It currently employs nearly 3,300 people and has major developments planned, according to General Manager Fabrice Gomez.
“The future of this factory lies in the growth of electric cars, with many jobs and colossal investments in the coming years,” he said at the inauguration of the new production line. “Bouskoura is now one of the Group’s key electric car sites to serve European customers in the near future. »
Morocco can be proud to be one of the few countries in which semiconductors for electric cars are manufacturedin a context of global scarcity that threatens the entire sector.
The world on a forced march towards electric
Today, the famous American manufacturer of electric cars represents Tesla, which revolutionized the market the largest market valuation – by far – among automakers. The speculation effect, while not negligible, shows that the financial markets believe that the future of the industry lies in electricity.
The two manufacturers present in Morocco, namely the Renault-Nissan and Stellantis groups, also entered the electric age quite early. Morocco offers them exceptional competitiveness. Today, the two best-selling models in Europe, the Dacia Sandero and the Peugeot 208, both come from Moroccan factories.
If Morocco wants to claim such a high rate of integration in the electric car, it will inevitably have to manufacture the batteries; because they can represent at least 30% of the value of an electric vehicleeven if their price is constantly falling thanks to technological developments.
According to official information Europe represents almost 80% of Moroccan auto exports. However, on June 8th last year, the Parliament of the European Union adopted a text which prohibits the sale of new thermal cars in Europe from 2035. The interim targets for reducing emissions from motor vehicles are set at -15% by 2025 and -55% by 2030.
If Morocco wants to keep its market share at the level of its main market, it must pursue its transformation. Especially since most European countries offer incentives in the form of subsidies and premiums for the purchase of electric cars. In France, the champion in this field, these reach a total of 11,000 euros.
Rachid Yazami: These are the prerequisites for the success of the lithium battery production project in Morocco