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SAFT, headquartered in France, is a world leading manufacturer of NiCd, NiMH and Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery Systems for mobility and other OEM applications.

With 9 production facilities and sales representations in 25 countries around the world, SAFT offers a broad range of high performance NiCd, NiMH and Li-Ion cells to meet the requirements of a wide range of applications. Besides the mobility sector, SAFT supplies batteries for emergency lighting, professional electronics, power tools, medical equipment and others.

In October 2002, ExtraEnergy visited the three SAFT production plants in France: Nersac, Poitiers, and Bordeaux. The team was impressed by the professional, clean, large-scale production.

Nersac, near AngoulÍme, is the largest of three factories for mass production of NiCd and NiMH Rechargeable Battery Systems. Saft-Nersac manufactures around 100 Mio cylindrical cells per year. Over 730 people help to transform the raw material into batteries ready to ship within 5 days.

In Poitiers, SAFT produces rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries with a current capacity of 1 Mio cells per year.

The Bordeaux facility includes NiCd production for Electric and Hybrid Vehicles, railroad and aircraft applications––25,000-30,000 cells per year. Since 1995 more than 10,000 EVs and HEVs, mainly by Peugeot and Citroen, have been equipped with SAFT NiCd prismatic batteries worldwide.
Big Li-Ion cells (44 Ah / 60 Ah) are also made in Bordeaux in small-scale production.

SAFT sets on Lithium-Ion
Since Saft has started manufacturing Lithium cells in 1993, the company has been working hard on extending cycle life with the help of a special discharge balancing device and preventing explosion by a circuit breaker that cuts off the current if the internal pressure exceeds 6 Bar.

Comparing Li-Ion and NiMH batteries Saft says, the volume of the modules is almost the same (5% less with Li-Ion), however, Li-Ion weighs 45 % less. The cost of Lithium is still very high, but Saft expects to be able to reduce the price by 10% each year. So far, the Li-Ion D-cell battery for the Honda Insight still costs 3,000 Euros.

Focus on OEM
In 2002, the markets of SAFT Rechargeable Battery System were 77% OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers), 17% Telecom OEM and 6% Consumer batteries.

SAFT admits, that in the telecommunication and consumer markets it is hard to compete against China. Thus, the battery maker wants to be a partner fully integrated into the development process of the appropriate battery system rather than just be the supplier.

Company Facts:
Sales: 550 m Euro
R&D expenditure: 30 m Euro (5.5% of sales)
Capital expenditure: 25 m Euro (4.5% of sales)
Employees: 4,000
Presence: in 25 countries worldwide
Area: 25,600 sq.m of buildings on a 110,000 sq.m total factory area
Capacity: 150 million cells / year
Other characteristics:
10,000 km electrodes / year
400 new products / year
18,000 shipment lines / year
More than 2,000 battery pack references
ISO 9001 certified
(November 2002)

1918: Nov 22nd, Foundation of SAFT

1963: First portable sealed Ni-Cd battery in the world market place, by SAFT

1975: Start-up of Ni-Cd cylindrical cell assembly in Nersac, France

1980: Start-up of battery pack assembly in Saint Yrieix, near Nersac

1990: Li-Ion (Medium prismatic) technology start-up

1995: First Ni-Cd pocket plate battery for moto- scooter application

1996: Ni-MH technology start-up in Nersac and Saint Yrieix

1999: High power cylindrical Ni-MH start-up (VH Cs cell)

2000: Start-up and development of a complete system offer including pack, Battery Management System (BMS) and charger.

Products for Mobility Application:
Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd)
D 5.5 Ah (VRE)
F 9.0 Ah (VRE)

Nickel-Metal-Hydride (NiMH)
Cs 3.2 Ah (VH)
D 9.5 Ah (VH)
F 15.0 Ah (VH)

Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion):
2.3 Ah (MP 144350)
4.6 Ah (MP 174865)
6.0 Ah (MP 176065)

Typical SAFT Battery Pack Offers:
For E-Bikes/Pedelecs:
24 V to 36 V pack
NiCd and NiMH D / F size from 5.6 Ah to 15.0 Ah
Electronics Battery Management System for most
sophisticated products

Personal Transport and other Mobility devices:
NiMH and Li-Ion
12 V to 72 V pack
Cs / D / F size
From an extended technical support to a complete system offer including pack, Battery Management System and charger.

Batteries for other Applications:
SAFT also produces batteries for
Emergency lighting
Medical instrumentation
Professional electronics
Security devices
Power tools
Home appliances
Battery powered hobbies

For more information, please see

SAFT LEV References:
Pedelecs/E-Bikes tested by ExtraEnergy:
Heinzmann: estelle (Saft NiMH batteries in new Models)
Sachs: Elo-Touring
Velocity: Dolphin

Personal Mobility:

Headquarter Saft Rechargeable Battery Systems
12 rue Sadi Carnot
93170 Bagnolet
Tel: +33 -149-93 19 18
Fax: +33 -149-93 19 51

For contact information of the other SAFT plants and sales offices, please see

Photos (Copyright by SAFT)

October 20, 2003



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