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The biggest names in EV business have committed massive funds to gigafactories. Now, the UAE could have such a project. (Pictured of Tesla giga-factory in Shanghai used for illustrative purposes.) Image Credit: Agency

Dubai: A full-scale battery cell manufacturing plant in the UAE? And that too a gigafactory?

Statevolt plans to build such a facility in Ras Al Khaimah, with a planned capital outlay of $3.2 billion. The battery cells that it will produce will be 'technology-agnostic', according to the promoters.

Statevolt Emirates will implement a 'modular design' approach, allowing for a faster entry to market as well as a 'solution to diversify production based on technology readiness'.

The gigafactory will offer battery cells with 'extended lifecycle', and which are adaptable to a range of climates and conditions. It will start producing semi-solid state battery cells, with the aim to move to solid state battery cells once the 'project reaches full capacity'.

It is not known how the $3.2 billion funding will be tapped, whether it will be through Statevolt itself or through strategic partners. But as is widely known, such facilities tend to be heavy on the capital expenses side, and the scale of the production needs to be high from the outset to justify the expenses. (Tesla is an obvious example of an entity that started on the giga-factory production quite early on, and taken it into locations other than its US base.) 

Also, access to raw materials that will make up the battery cells is just as vital. Again, on a massive scale and with assured supplies coming in.

There are more than 200 gigafactories operational or in the process of doing so worldwide.

What's getting built in RAK?

The Statevolt Emirates' gigafactory is to 'meet the surging global demand for energy storage solutions', deemed as crucial for stabilizing the grid. And will focus on key export markets such as Africa, India, the UAE, and the broader Middle East.

It will have an annual production capacity of up to 40GWh on reaching full operations.

The site in Ras Al Khaimah will take up 60 hectares in Al Ghail Industrial Park in RAKEZ, the emirate's free zone authority.

RAKEZ had worked with Statevolt on the initial setup and is 'committed to supporting logistics requirements and providing sufficient energy for the gigafactory to operate at full capacity'.

Statevolt has already reached a land agreement in RAKEZ, marking the 'first milestone in the development'.