VW is getting into the EV battery business

WWith supply chains still in disarray and the war in Ukraine devastating raw material prices for EV battery components, many forward-thinking automakers are scrambling to not only secure supplies of precious metals like cobalt, lithium and nickel used in EVs -Batteries are used, but also the possibility to build the batteries yourself. On Thursday, Volkswagen Group broke ground at the site of its forthcoming electric vehicle battery cell plant in Salzgitter, Germany, and announced the formation of a new company, PowerCo, which will be responsible for VW Group’s burgeoning battery business.

“Today is a good day for the automotive industry in Germany and Europe,” said Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz during the event. “Volkswagen shows what the future of sustainable, climate-friendly mobility could look like. Together we are laying the foundations in Salzgitter to shape this future significantly.”

PowerCo will take over the group’s global battery operations, from producing the batteries themselves to conducting research and development on new battery technologies and “products such as large-scale storage systems for the energy grid,” according to the announcement. Once the Salzgitter facility is operational, PowerCo will begin construction of a second facility in Valencia, Spain, with a view to three additional cell facilities in Europe and possibly North America. Each of the European factories is reportedly powered by 100 percent renewable energy. In total, PowerCo aims to open a total of six battery factories in Europe, producing a total capacity of 240 GWh each year (worth approximately 6 million electric vehicles).

Fully automatic position control of the electrodes in the stacking system in the drying room of the R&D line.

Stephen Warter

The processes in the various production facilities are standardized to a high degree. Everything from “equipment, buildings and infrastructure” to “products, processes and IT” will be compliant so that the entire production process can be better adapted to future “product and production innovations”, according to the release.

Since the plant was founded in 1970, more than 62 million engines have been built at the Volkswagen plant in Salzgitter.

(c) Sebastian Dorbrietz

The Salzgitter plant is expected to create 5,000 new jobs when it comes online in 2025 with an annual capacity of 40 GWh (worth ~500,000 electric vehicles). Around 20,000 positions will have to be filled once the other European plants have opened, said Daniela Cavallo, Chairwoman of the General and Group Works Councils at Volkswagen AG.

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Russell Falcon

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