Looking Abroad: International Partnerships Bring EV Infrastructure, Solar Farms, and More

Nov. 30, 2023
Featured in this wrap of global activity aimed at bringing about an eco-friendlier world: Battery deals in Asia and Europe and solar in South Africa and Australia

Across the globe, companies are collaborating every day to make the future a bit greener and the energy transition a bit easier.

In Asia, some are collaborating to not only create better transportation options but educate the public as well. Europe is seeing heavy investments in battery storage and gigafactories, South Africa is getting more solar farms, and an Australian company is leading the charge for a slightly cheaper EV charging solution.

Following up on our recap from early October, here’s more on some of these recent deals from around the world.

Asia

In Asia, big partnerships and acquisitions are in the works. Singaporean companies KGS, Quantum Volts, and Quantum Mobility signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work on creating new, eco-friendly transportation options. The agreement has three main goals:

  1. Sustainable Battery Solutions: KGS, which recycles batteries, will work closely with Quantum Mobility and Quantum Volts, which manufacture electric motorcycles and EV charging infrastructure respectively, to “implement advanced battery recycling methodologies” for electric motorcycle batteries.
  2. Circular Economy Approach: KGS and Quantum Volts will focus on organizing the recycling and repurposing of EV batteries to create a circular system with minimal waste and maximal resource efficiency.
  3. Public Awareness Campaigns: All three companies will launch joint public awareness campaigns to inform the public about the benefits of “electric motorcycles, sustainable battery technologies, and the importance of responsible waste management.”

In Japan, construction giant Komatsu announced its intention to acquire American Battery Solutions, Inc. (ABS) through its American subsidiary Komatsu America Corp. The acquisition of ABS, which develops and manufactures industrial and heavy-duty battery packs, will help Komatsu create and produce its own battery-operated equipment as well as achieve its decarbonization goals. 

ABS will continue to operate as its own, stand-alone business entity within Komatsu and execute its previously established growth plans.

On the Indian subcontinent, travel conglomerate InterGlobe Enterprises and eVTOL leader Archer Aviation are joining forces to launch an all-electric air taxi service in India by 2026. The goal of the partnership is to “provide a revolutionary transportation solution for the country, improving urban mobility with safe, sustainable, and low-noise electric air taxi service that is cost-competitive with ground transportation.”

Up to 200 Archer Midnight aircraft will be used for the operation. The plane, an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, was designed for rapid, back-to-back flights and would theoretically reduce an up to 90-minute drive down to a seven-minute flight.

Europe

In Europe, batteries are the talk of the town. Volkswagen selected high-tech facility manufacturer Exyte to build a dry room within its first battery cell gigafactory in Salzgitter, Germany. The gigafactory is expected to have an annual capacity of 40 GWh, enough for approximately 500,000 electric vehicles.

But the plant is just the beginning for Volkswagen, which has plans to expand battery production across Europe and into North America: it has already revealed its intentions to build more gigafactories in Valencia, Spain, and Ontario, Canada.

In southeast Europe, the partnership between stationary battery manufacturer Hithium and solar project EPC provider Solarpro is bringing the largest Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project to the region.

Hithium will supply the battery products to the 55 MWh energy storage project in Razlog, Bulgaria, and Solarpro will handle engineering, procurement, and construction. Construction for the new plant, which will support a photovoltaic (PV) installation, will begin in 2024.

Ning Li, Director at Hithium, said, “We’re proud to collaborate with Solarpro…to start with the ground-breaking for the Razlog BESS plant. This project represents our entry into Eastern Europe and perfectly reflects the contribution we want to make to the region, scaling up energy storage to stabilize the supply of clean energy.”

Hithium will supply 16 energy storage containers with a 3.44 MWh capacity, with an extra-long expected lifespan due to the company’s 280 Ah cells. The containers also have a wide operating temperature range, allowing the project to run even in extreme weather.

Africa

Africa has also seen a big deal close recently. Norwegian wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power reached financial close on a 97.5 MW solar PV farm in the Free State province in South Africa. Construction on the farm is expected to begin later this year and be fully operational by 2025.

The close came with a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with South African companies Sasol and Air Liquide, both of which will receive the power generated by the farm through the national grid to operations in Secunda.

“This agreement underscores our commitment and responsibility to providing viable commercial and socio-economic solutions to address South Africa's energy security needs as part of the energy transition and contribute towards developing the independent power producers' role in rebuilding the South African economy as quickly as possible," said Mainstream’s Africa GM Hein Reyneke.

Australia

Australian companies are heating up with partnerships both in and out of the country. EV charging company JOLT is teaming up with the Local Authority of Barnet, a London borough, to “bring free, fast, and clean roadside charging stations.”

JOLT’s charging network will operate similarly to its Australian one: All-electric vehicle drivers will have access to 7 kWh, roughly 30 miles, of free charging per day, in up to 20 minutes of charge time.

The partnership is thanks to a £2.1m funding grant to Barnet as part of the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Pilot Project, a government-supported program to roll out EV charging infrastructure.

Meanwhile, in Australia itself, GameChange Solar signed an MoU with Bison Energy to bring five solar projects to the country, totaling over 125 MW. Under the agreement, GameChange Solar, which creates solar tracking solutions, will supply Bison Energy’s New South Wales and Victoria development projects.

"This announcement is the culmination of two companies who share an aligned strategic vision to repower the planet through the production of renewable generation solar farms. We hope this will lay the foundation of a global alliance with Bison Energy," said Derick Botha, Chief Commercial Officer at GameChange Solar.

Bison Energy, which is headquartered in Tokyo, develops and owns renewable-energy projects around the world, and its Australian branch has been developing in that country since 2017. The subsidiary has worked on a multitude of solar farms, hybrid solar farms with energy storage, and single energy storage projects.