Volkswagen will bring EV batteries in-house and set a timeline for switching to solid-state batteries, sharpening its challenge to Tesla.
Similar to Tesla, Volkswagen is increasingly using cobalt-free and cheaper lithium iron phosphate cells, which are said to become more important than NMC cell chemistry with nickel, manganese and cobalt. In the medium term, Volkswagen is also relying on solid-state batteries - presumably especially through the technology of the cleantech start-up Quantumscape .
In Europe alone, six gigafactories with a total capacity of 240 gigawatt hours are to be built by the end of the decade. The first Gigafactory is that of Northvolt in Sweden, which will start producing from 2023 and will be gradually scaled up.
The second Volkswagen Gigafactory is being built in Salzgitter - also with 40 gigawatt hours. Volkswagen has taken over the location there from Northvolt or the joint venture. The so-called “unit cell” for volume business is to be produced here from 2025 onwards. This unit cell is to be used in 80 percent of the Group's vehicles. The third factory is to come to southern Europe. The fourth Gigafactory after Eastern Europe. Factories 5 and 6 were not named more precisely.
Further savings are achieved by optimizing the cell type, innovative production methods and consistent recycling. Volkswagen intends to gradually reduce the cost of batteries in the entry-level segment by up to 50 percent and in the volume segment by up to 30 percent. “With the battery, too, we will use our economies of scale for the benefit of our customers. On average, this will reduce the costs for battery systems to well below 100 euros per kilowatt hour. This makes e-mobility finally affordable and the decisive drive technology, ”says Thomas Schmall, Chief Technology Officer of the Volkswagen Group.
Volkswagen is also vigorously pushing the global expansion of the public fast-charging network. In Europe, the company has agreed to cooperate with the energy companies BP (Great Britain), Iberdrola (Spain) and Enel (Italy). By 2025, the company wants to operate around 18,000 public fast charging points in Europe in association with partners. This corresponds to a five-fold increase in the fast charging network compared to today and around a third of the total demand forecast for 2025 on the continent.
In addition to the Ionity joint venture , a number of strategic partnerships will also contribute to this. Together with BP, Volkswagen wants to set up around 8,000 fast charging points across Europe. The fast chargers with 150 kW charging capacity will be built at a total of 4,000 BP and ARAL filling stations, most of them in Germany and Great Britain. In Spain, the main traffic axes are to be developed in cooperation with Iberdrola. In Italy, Volkswagen wants to cooperate with Enel in order to expand the fast charging network both on motorways and in urban areas. Volkswagen will spend around 400 million euros on the entire program in Europe by 2025. Further scopes are carried out by external partners.
Volkswagen is also expanding the public fast-charging network in the USA and China. Electrify America plans to have around 3,500 fast charging points in North America by the end of the year. In China, Volkswagen is planning a total of 17,000 fast charging points through the CAMS joint venture by 2025.
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.