We thought Northvolt would be in charge of them, but not quite.
The Volkswagen Power Day gave us the impression that all high-performance cells for its electric cars would be made by Northvolt. Oliver Blume said that himself, but we got it wrong. Northvolt will make premium batteries. The ones for motorsports will probably have to be produced by Porsche itself, according to what the company’s director of R&D told Automotive News.
Michael Steiner said that cell manufacturers' current priority is to increase their production scale to cope with all the demand that automakers will have in the next few years. When it comes to high-performance cells and the volume in which they will be needed, they are not a priority for obvious reasons.
This is why Porsche will have to grab the bull by the horns on its own or with a partner. The German media would already have revealed which this partner is. Called Custom Cells, this German startup would be working on a joint venture with Porsche called Cellforce. Automotive News tried to confirm that with Steiner but was not successful.
All the executive was willing to say was that Porsche is confident in establishing a partnership for research, development, and small series production of these high-performance cells. If they prove to be successful in motorsports, Porsche may pursue a larger production scale for them, either alone or with a partner.
Regardless of an official confirmation, Cellforce already has government funding for its enterprises. Curiously, Germany would have approved the financial aid for Cellforce at the same time it approved public fundings for the Tesla Giga Grünheide unit. Tesla is yet to ask for a building permit for it, but it said it intends to produce at least 100 GWh in cells per year there.
Regarding Porsche and Cellforce, we will have to wait until the companies are willing to talk about their plans. What we know for sure is that they will probably be responsible for a good chunk of the 20 percent of batteries that will not be unified cells at the Volkswagen Group.