Around 300 experts are developing, testing and piloting innovative manufacturing processes for the production of lithium-ion batteries at Volkswagen’s Center of Excellence in Salzgitter near the Volkswagen main factory in Wolfsburg. As a first step, the carmaker is investing more than 100 million euros in its own development and manufacturing expertise.
In addition, Volkswagen is investing around 900 million euros in joint battery activities with the Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt. From 2020, a 16 gigawatt hour battery cell factory is to be built in Salzgitter. Production is scheduled to start at the turn of the year 2023/2024. Volkswagen recently established a 50/50 joint venture with Northvolt for this purpose. In the medium term, 700 jobs are to be created in this independent company.
“The combination of development, testing and pilot production of the battery cell in Salzgitter represents a further milestone in the Volkswagen Group’s comprehensive E-Offensive,” says Dr. Stefan Sommer, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Procurement at Volkswagen. “By bundling our competencies at this location, we are ensuring that we can drive forward the further development of battery cells as a key component of electrification ourselves, develop new standards and quickly transfer them to series production.
To this end, the Volkswagen Group has created the Battery Cell business area in the Group Components unit. Here, in cooperation with suppliers, the battery cell is to be further improved for future use in the Group’s e-models. The spectrum ranges from increasing capacity for greater range, reducing the use of rare raw materials and optimizing sustainable production processes to recycling battery systems. “We are already developing and manufacturing power electronics, battery systems, electric motors and charging systems and are building up recycling expertise for batteries,” says Thomas Schmall, CEO of Components Group. The Group’s long-term goal is to achieve a leading position in the global battery business.
Frank Blome, Head of the Center of Excellence for Battery Cells in Salzgitter, explains: “Today’s commissioning of the pilot production facility is an important step on our way to setting up the gigafactory at the Salzgitter site. We will be further deepening our knowledge of the production processes here in a short time.” This is important for shaping future developments and thus ensuring performance, costs and quality, Frank Blome continued. “The experience gained will also help us to master the entire value chain of lithium-ion batteries – from raw materials to production and recycling – in the future”.
A pilot plant for the recycling of batteries is also under construction at the Salzgitter site and is to be put into operation in 2020.
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