Volkswagen intends to gain competencies in battery cells to be able produce and recycle them in-house.

Volkswagen Group is moving forward with its comprehensive electrification plan - the latest step was the launch of battery cell development and pilot production at its Salzgitter site in Germany.

The German manufacturer is investing some €100 million in the project and is creating 100 jobs, because it's aware that batteries are as much as 40% of the added value of electric vehicles.

At a later stage, from 2020 on, Salzgitter will also get a battery recycling facility and from 2023/2024 there will be the lithium-ion cell gigafactory (16 GWh annually) with Northvolt. The investment in cell production is worth €900 million and will create 700 jobs.

"A pilot line for small-series battery cell production was opened at the Center of Excellence (CoE) in Salzgitter today. Some 300 experts are involved in developing, testing and piloting innovative manufacturing technologies for the production of lithium-ion batteries. In a first step, Volkswagen is investing over €100 million in amassing its own development and production know-how.

In addition, Volkswagen is investing a further approx. €900 million in joint battery activities with the Swedish battery producer Northvolt. Construction of a 16 gigawatt hour battery cell factory in Salzgitter is to start in 2020. It is planned to commence production in late 2023/early 2024. To that end, Volkswagen recently founded a 50/50 joint venture with Northvolt. 700 jobs are to be created in the medium-term in this independent joint venture."

"The Volkswagen Group has therefore established a battery cell business area at Volkswagen Group Components. This business area is designed to optimize battery cells for future use in the Group’s electric models in cooperation with suppliers. The spectrum ranges from increasing capacity to extend the range, reducing the use of scarce raw materials and optimizing sustainable manufacturing processes through to recycling battery systems."

Dr. Stefan Sommer, Member of the Volkswagen AG Board of Management responsible for Procurement, commented:

“Bringing together the development, testing and pilot production of battery cells in Salzgitter marks a further milestone in the Volkswagen Group’s comprehensive electric offensive. By pooling know-how at this site, we are making sure we drive forward our own activities to further advance the development of battery cells as a key component in electrification, develop new standards and swiftly transition them to series production.”

Thomas Schmall, Chairman of the Board of Management of Group Components, said:

“We already develop and manufacture power electronics, battery systems, electric motors and charging systems, and are building up battery recycling know-how. With the integration of the battery cell business area, Volkswagen Group Components is on track to becoming a globally leading producer of e-mobility components.”

Frank Blome, Head of the Center of Excellence for Battery Cells in Salzgitter, commented:

“Today’s commissioning of the pilot line is an important step on the road to building a gigafactory at the Salzgitter site. We will further deepen our knowledge of production processes within a short space of time. That is important in order to shape future developments and thus secure performance and costs as well as quality. The experience gained will also contribute to mastering the entire value chain for lithium-ion batteries – from raw materials through production to recycling.”

Gallery: Volkswagen Group starts battery cell development and production in Salzgitter

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Battery cell assembly: pilot line started

The pilot line for battery cell assembly in Salzgitter is running. Lithium-ion battery cells are produced in the state of Lower-Saxony, about twenty kilometers south-west of Braunschweig. The “Center of Excellence” plays a key-role in Volkswagen Group. With copy, one video and five info graphics we give you the eighteen most important answers

Why Salzgitter?

Battery cells are the key components for e-mobility. This is why Volkswagen develops battery technology into a core competence in order to ensure cost leadership in batteries and thus the competitiveness of its e-vehicles. Only by building its own expertise up can the technological course be set at an early stage in development and production. Volkswagen’s e-locations in Emden and Hanover will create an efficient e-cluster in Lower Saxony. In addition, the proximity to the Group’s production locations brings logistical advantages: Zwickau for example, where series production of the ID.3 will start in the autumn, is just 300 kilometers away from Salzgitter.

Who works there?
Around 300 experts work in Salzgitter in the fields of electrochemistry and cell technology, as well as in traditional areas such as quality management, design and procurement – across Group and functional boundaries. The CoE assumes Group-wide responsibility for the development, procurement, project and portfolio management and quality assurance of all battery cells.

Who is in charge?

Frank Blome has headed the Center of Excellence for Battery Cells at Volkswagen since January 2018. Frank Blome holds a degree in electrical engineering and began his career in 1995 as a development engineer. Following positions at Continental AG as project manager and development manager for electric drives, he became head of the Energy Management business unit at Continental AG in 2004. In 2009 he was appointed Chairman of the Board of Management of Deutsche ACCUmotive GmbH, a Daimler subsidiary, in Kirchheim/Teck and Kamenz. From 2013, Blome was also head of Li-Tec Battery GmbH.

What is the goal?

The pilot line will build up process and manufacturing competences. In addition it will research and industrialize innovative manufacturing processes. This way, Volkswagen is creating an entry into cell production. Thanks to pilot assembly, it is possible to further deepen knowledge of the production processes in a very short time and under one’s own steam. This is important for shaping future developments and thus ensuring performance, costs and quality.

What type of batteries are produced?

Salzgitter is about the production of lithium-ion battery cells in test batches for research and development purposes. The solid cell is also being researched in cooperation with the US company QuantumScape.