By Stefanie Haxel
German forklift manufacturer Kion Group AG (KGK.XE) said Thursday that it is launching a joint venture for lithium-ion batteries with BMZ Holding GmbH to meet rapidly growing demand in the intralogistics market.
A new production facility is being built by BMZ in Karlstein am Main, where the German cell-and-battery maker is based, Kion said. The company didn't put a figure on the investment.
The move comes at a time when car makers and other vehicle manufacturers are rushing to secure their battery supply as they are ramping up production of electric vehicles.
Volkswagen AG last month agreed to set up a joint venture with Sweden's Northvolt AV to produce batteries in Germany. German car maker Opel, which is part of Peugeot also plans to build a factory in Germany, together with French battery maker Saft, which is owned by Total.
By cooperating with BMZ, Kion is also securing its own supply. Electric drive systems are of particular importance for Kion as its brands are supplying more and more electric-powered forklift and warehouse trucks, the company said. Last year, electric trucks accounted for about 80% of unit sales.
The joint venture will initially focus on 48-volt and 80-volt batteries for counterbalance trucks and will expand the offering soon to 24-volt batteries for smaller warehouse trucks, Kion said. It is expected to employ about 80 people by 2023, working mainly in research, development and production functions. Kion and BMZ will each hold a 50% stake in the venture.
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