The first locally designed and built electric car, called the Mamba, launched at the Durban International Convention Centre. (Stock Image)
PRETORIA - Metair, the listed international manufacturer, distributor and retailer of energy storage solutions and automotive components, has acquired a 35percent stake in Primemotors in Romania for an undisclosed amount to accelerate its production of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for the growing European market.

The acquisition for 1million (R14.39m) was executed through Rombat, a wholly-owned Metair subsidiary and the leading car battery manufacturer in Romania.

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

Theo Loock, the managing director of Metair, said yesterday that the strategic acquisition of Primemotors reinforced Metair’s energy storage capabilities across key regions and cemented its position at the forefront of the production of lithium-ion batteries when required across the geographic areas in which it operated.

Loock added that Primemotors would become Metair’s incubator and research and development centre for Li-ion battery development in Europe.

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

He said a key programme milestone had already been achieved with Metair successfully delivering its first Li-ion electric vehicle conversion to a original equipment manufacturer in Turkey.

In line with the programme, the acquisition of Primemotors would see the programme partner with the Politehnica University of Bucharest on an artificial intelligence project relating to autonomous driving.

In South Africa, Metair has partnered with the South African Institute for Advanced Materials Chemistry, located at the University of the Western Cape, which is the only pilot-scale Li-ion battery cell assembly facility in Africa.

- BUSINESS REPORT