Metair expands lithium-ion capabilities in Romania

19th February 2018 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Metair expands lithium-ion capabilities in Romania

Metair MD Theo Loock

Energy storage and automotive component specialist Metair has acquired 35% in Primemotors (Prime), in Romania, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Rombat, in an effort to accelerate its production of lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries for the growing European market.

Metair recently launched a programme to partner with universities and industry agencies for the production and certification of li-ion batteries.

The programme is an important move for Metair, which historically used available li-ion solutions from upstream suppliers in order to deliver customer-specific systems and solutions by adding its own system design and controls.

A key programme milestone has already been achieved with Metair delivering its first li-ion electric vehicle conversion to a vehicle manufacturer in Turkey.

In a deal valued at one-million euro, Prime will become Metair’s incubator and research and development centre for li-ion battery development in Europe.

Prime is a specialised technology company focused on tailor-made battery packs and electric drives.

The acquisition of Prime will also see Metair partner with the University Politehnica of Bucharest on an artificial intelligence (AI) project relating to autonomous driving.

This partnership also provides the platform for Metair to validate its global solutions on a regular basis, and stay at the forefront of technological advancements that will support vehicle manufacturer requirements as the production of electric vehicles accelerates.

The relationship should ensure that the testing and validation of Metair’s li-ion technology is undertaken according to strict academically driven standards.

“The strategic acquisition of Primemotors in Romania reinforces Metair’s energy storage capabilities across key regions and cements our position at the forefront of the production of lithium-ion batteries when required across the geographic areas where we operate,” says Metair MD Theo Loock.

“The requirement for increasingly sophisticated energy storage solutions that rely on locally sourced raw materials and production facilities is accelerating as cost-effective energy storage becomes a major focus area for many industries. We are increasingly well positioned to take advantage of the global drive towards electric vehicles and renewable sources of energy.”

For its li-ion programme in South Africa, Metair partners with the South African Institute for Advanced Materials Chemistry, located at the University of the Western Cape, which houses the only pilot scale li-ion battery cell assembly facility in Africa.