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Our History

2018 marks 100 years of Saft. During all of that time, we have been pioneers, designing and manufacturing batteries and battery systems to get energy to where our customers need it - be that in space, on land, in the air, or at sea. Today, as we celebrate our centenary we are preparing and looking forward to staying at the forefront of our industry for next 100 years.



From inspiration to industry



The making of an international Group



Discoveries and growth



Reaching new heights



Diversification through acquisition



Expanding into emerging markets



Multi-technology leadership around the world



A new era - Saft as part of Total


Introduction of nickel-based technology by Thomas Edison and Waldemar Jungner, originally intended for electric vehicles.


Franco-Swiss chemical engineer Victor Hérold founds “La Société Industrielle des Accumulateurs Alcalins” (S.I.A.A), based on Edison and Jungner technology, in Romainville, France. World War I prevents production from starting.


S.I.A.A production starts. Name change to “La Société des Accumulateurs Fixes et de Traction” (S.A.F.T), which manufactures and distributes nickel-based batteries for industrial applications. Some of the first Saft batteries are used to power luggage trolleys in Paris railway stations.


Saft S.A. shares listed on the Paris Stock Exchange


Acquisition of Saft by Compagnie Générale d’Electricité (later to become Alcatel)


French submarine Ouessant equipped with Saft's nickel-cadmium battery. Even if the submarine was underwater at a depth of 15 meters for two years (1940-1942), the battery remained intact.


Cadmium Nickel Batteries established in the UK by Henry Bissell Ltd


Creation of SAFTA in Belgium, Saft’s first subsidiary.

Inauguration of Saft’s Bordeaux factory in France.


Acquisition of “La Pile Leclanché”, whose roots can be traced back to around 1880 when they first began producing Georges Leclanché’s revolutionary battery.


Creation of the subsidiary Saft Corporation of America


Saft files its first patents on primary lithium

Construction of Saft’s factory in Poitiers, France


Creation of Saft UK, the British subsidiary

Launch of the Diapason 1A satellite on February 17, 1966


Li-SOCl2 electrochemistry discovered by Saft

Concorde prototypes make their first flights using Saft nickel-based batteries

Saft Akkumulatoren und Batterien GmbH, the Germany subsidiary, created in Offenbach


Saft Iberica, Spain, created in Vitoria


Creation of Saft America Inc., with the construction of a factory in Valdosta, Georgia


Inauguration of a new factory in Nersac, France


Mass production of primary lithium cells (Li-SOCl2 and Li-MnO2)


Saft Singapore Ltd created

The CGE group slowly transitions into Alcatel and Alsthom

CGE decides to combine two of its battery subsidiaries into one and creates Saft-Mazda


Creation of Saft Italia using the two agents already working for Saft in Cegelec Alsthom Italiana.

Acquisition of the Gould Battery Company, representing Saft’s first manufacturing capability of nickel-based portable cells in North America


Creation of Saft Scandinavia

Sale of consumer battery activities to Bernard Tapie and acquisition of the activities of the industrial battery company Wonder


Acquisition of Alcad Ltd, an international firm based in the UK and the US. Saft’s first significant entry into the American industrial standby market.


Saft China created in Hong Kong and Shekou, the site of a factory. They produce and sell portable accumulators

Saft Australia Pty created


French explorer Jean-Louis Etienne and his team embark on their Transantarctica mission for seven months, powered by Saft batteries.


Acquisition of Saft's major nickel-based competitor for industrial batteries, NIFE in Oskarshamn, Sweden


Purchase of Gates Aerospace Batteries, which produces batteries for satellites


Saft America awarded TRP funds by the US military for development of lithium-ion products


Alcatel repurchases all the shares of Saft S.A. that were de-listed in 1995

Saft aquires Ferak, once part of Prague Accumulors, based in Raskovice, Czech Republic. The company has been producing nickel-based batteries since 1934 under licence from DEAC, the company that produced Thomas Edison’s first battery.

Lockheed F-22 contract signed – the first application of Saft’s nickel AMFB (Aircraft Maintenance-Free Battery)


Acquisition of Tadiran, an Israeli manufacturer of lithium batteries, with operations in Israel, the US and Germany. Disposal of some product lines to focus on the Lithium Thionyl Chloride technology

A new technology, the Pulse Plus, introduced by Tadiran is the main reason for the rapid growth of the company


Acquisition of Hawker Eternacell, lithium battery supplier to the US and UK armed forces since 1937

Manufacturing of LiSo2, LiSOCl2, LiMnO2 begins in the UK


Acquisition of the German company Friemann und Wolf Batterietechnik GmbH (Friwo), and the assets of Emisa and Centra, from Exide, producer of industrial nickel-based and lithium batteries for the defense industry and torpedoes.

Saft Batterie Italia SRL created

Saft Baterias S.L. created to cover the Spanish, Portuguese and South American markets. It is the outcome of Saft’s acquisition of some of EMISA’s (Exide Technologies) assets from Tudor Spain

Saft’s Czech subsidiary acquires CENTRA

The Northrop Grumman Global Hawk contract signed: the first lithium-ion aircraft application


Saft sold by Alcatel to Doughty Hanson Funds (DHF)

The Mars Exploration Rovers “Spirit” and “Opportunity” land on Mars with Saft batteries on board.


Saft becomes a Public Limited Company with shares listed on Paris Euronext

Saft’s Battery Energy Storage System in Fairbanks, Alaska, recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as “the world’s most powerful battery”


Opening of Saft China in Zhuhai to support domestic market

Creation of joint-venture between Saft and Johnson Controls Inc. to develop, produce and sell advanced-technology batteries for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs)

Saft takes control of AMCO Power Systems Ltd of Bangalore, the nickel-based battery business of Amalgamations private Ltd. The entity is called AMCO-Saft India Ltd.

EADS and Saft America combine their expertise in thermal batteries via ASB to form a new subsidiary, Advanced Thermal Batteries Inc., located in Cockeysville, Maryland


Launch of Tel.X range, the most compact maintenance-free solution for telecom networks


Saft, Conergy and Tenesol launch SOLION, Europe's largest photovoltaic energy storage development project

Johnson Controls-Saft opens world’s first production facility for lithium-ion hybrid vehicle batteries in Nersac, France


International expansion continues with new subsidiary in Brazil

Launch of high-energy Evolion® lithium-ion battery system optimized for all telecom applications


Inauguration of state-of-the-art lithium-ion plant in Jacksonville, FL (USA)

Launch of Intensium® Max megawatt-scale containerized energy storage system

Sale of shares in Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture


Launch of first lithium-ion solution for railway applications designed for regenerative hybrid traction

Scuderia Ferrari recognises Saft with 2012 Innovation Award


Li-ion battery on board the Airbus A350 XWB's maiden flight

Inauguration of manufacturing facility in Bangalore, India, to support local nickel-based market in standby power, railway, telecom and aviation

Opening of new subsidiary in Moscow for Russia and CIS markets

Sale of small nickel battery activity (SNB) in Nersac, France


Saft's primary lithium battery powers the Philae Lander on historic comet touchdown and data collection

100 million primary lithium batteries manufactured in Zhuhai, China, for metering and electronic toll collection

Launch of Seanergy® marine lithium-ion modules for clean propulsion applications


Launch of Xcelion 6T® : the lithium-ion drop-in replacement for lead-acid batteries


Total acquires Saft

President Obama visits Saft America’s advanced lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant

Inauguration of a new, larger advanced-technology facility in Zhuhai to double the Group’s production capacity in China

Opening of a new subsidiary in Japan to strengthen Saft’s presence in Asia


200th satellite equipped with Saft lithium-ion batteries set to launch

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China’s COMAC C919 jetliner makes its maiden flight with Saft ULM® batteries on board

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Saft wins major contract to supply marine Li-ion batteries to Rolls-Royce for RRS Sir David Attenborough polar vessel

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When we look at the past 100 years of Saft, we have always been at the forefront of creating the future technologies.

Ghislain Lescuyer Saft CEO