Volkswagen begins battery cell production in Salzgitter
Clean Energy Wire
Volkswagen has opened a pilot line for small-series battery cell production in Salzgitter in Lower Saxony and construction of a 16-gigawatt-hour (GWh) battery cell factory is planned to commence in 2020, the group has announced. “We already develop and manufacture power electronics, battery systems, electric motors and charging systems, and are building up battery recycling know-how," said Thomas Schmall, chairman of the board of management of group components, adding that the company was now "on track to becoming a globally leading producer of e-mobility components”. In total, 1,000 jobs are to be created by 2023 or 2024 in testing and production of battery cells in Salzgitter. Volkswagen has invested 100 million euros in amassing its own development and production know-how and 900 million euros in joint battery activities with Swedish battery producer Northvolt. The 16-GWh battery cell factory is a joint venture with Northvolt.
Investing in battery cell production has long been viewed as an essential step towards securing the future of Germany’s mighty car industry. Currently, German carmakers rely on Asian suppliers to procure the battery components for their first-generation e-car models. Economy minister Peter Altmaier has repeatedly called for the development of battery cell production capacities across Europe, but many carmakers have so far shied away from entering the market due to high initial investment costs and Asian manufacturers holding the advantage of longer experience.