Volkswagen Planning Its Own Major Battery Facility

MAY 27 2016 BY MARK KANE 15

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept

According to Handelsblatt, Volkswagen is considering its own battery factory, the size of which could be comparable to Tesla’s Gigafactory plant (at least judging by the “multi-billion-euro” amount that could be invested).

Truthfully we are not sure whether Volkswagen, still dealing with Dieselgate fall-out, is willing to part with billions of euros in the name of an investment into battery production, but an automotive group of VW’s size certainly can afford to build one.

German publication Die Welt further adds that up to 10 billion euros in total could be put to use on the project, converting VW’s massive Salzgitter facility from engine and gearbox production to batteries.

With brands like VW, Audi and Porsche, Skoda, Seat (and more), Volkswagen’s electric and plug-in hybrid car production should soon quickly pass the 100,000 unit mark annually (just under 60,000 plug-ins sold worldwide in 2015), which makes in-house battery production a worthy consideration.  The VW Group as a whole already boasts the most plug-in nameplates available on the market today.

With this facility, Volkswagen could become independent from Asian firms like Panasonic, LG and Samsung according to the article.

“VW Chief Executive Matthias Müller and his team are currently working on a new strategy to increase electric car sales in the coming 10 years to 1 million. The non-executive supervisory board will consider the plans before the Wolfsburg-based firm’s annual meeting on June 22.

The aim of the new plans in part is also to put the recent “Dieselgate” scandal over cheating emissions tests behind it. The hope is that focusing on battery technology and electric cars can help the beleaguered company make a fresh start and improve its negative image.”

The question ahead of any launching of its own factory (besides first allocating the capital to do so) is whether or not Volkswagen has the know-how in battery cell technology to not only be producing the right product at the facility, but also at the right price as compared to its competitors.  Something many other automakers have already tried – and failed – to do.

On the other hand, the VW Group already supports a lot of R&D in battery tech like many of its peers, but has also previously invested in some battery-start-ups directly (such as QuantumScape), so we look forward to a potential new announcement from Volkswagen on June 22.

Georg Schütte, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Science, has said that Germany badly needs major domestic battery cell production, “From research to automotive production, we have everything here – what is missing is the cell production”

In response to the report, a Volkswagen spokesman gave the OEM party-line of ‘we have no comment on future production and plans’.

source: Handelsblatt, Die Welthat tip to Alex Z!

Categories: Battery Tech, Volkswagen

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15 Comments on "Volkswagen Planning Its Own Major Battery Facility"

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Alan

The only way they can restore their reputation on emissions is to not have any !

This was always on the cards the moment they got caught cheating.

tftf

It’s rumored to be up to 10 billion EUR – which makes sense for a really large battery plant, Tesla/Pana once projected $5 billion for the full Gigafactory.

tftf

Source for the 10 billion EUR here:

https://www.ndr.de/nachrichten/niedersachsen/braunschweig_harz_goettingen/VW-plant-offenbar-Batteriefabrik-in-Salzgitter,vw3026.html

(German)

At this point, this is just an educated rumor.

VW will present its 2025 strategy publicly in a few weeks, maybe we will get more details at that event.

Anon

Looking for a cliche saying that describes VW’s sudden change twards EVs…

“A day late and a dollar short,” covers it.

Speculawyer

Wow . . . building your own very large battery plant in order to create your own low-cost batteries for electric cars!

What a novel concept! LOL.

I think it IS novel concept. They can spend billions and still may not have cost effective solution. If the technology is settled like ICE (eg. casting, etc), any old company could do it. But when things are moving quickly like EV battery, leaving it up to battery specialists to take all the risk is probably better.

I liken it to semiconductor industry. It used to be that even mom-and-pop semiconductor companies had fab. But as things move quicker (are we at 6.66nm yet?), it’s far more cost effective to just let big specialty fab houses to do it while the rest focus on core competency of function. Intel and Samsung are notable exceptions, and Tesla might turn out that way for the automotive world. But it may not be for other carmakers.

Get Real

Its called the “Tesla Effect” or better get with the future before it passes you by.

Good news if it happens. I’m fairly skeptical of VWAG constant announcements and concept cars. For some reason these things just never seem to go past that phase.

R

Let’s just hope VW doesn’t do a batterygate and say their battery is 85kWh, when it is probably 80kWh.

JyTesla3

You mean like Tesla’s 85kwh which is only 81kwh.

tosho

I’d like to say some words in VW’s defence 🙂 Yes they deserve a big fine for Dieselgate. But they are one of the few manufacturers that currently offer more than one EV model. There are a lot of companies with none …

Mike I

VW definitely needs to scale up battery pack assembly. However, they will likely follow Daimler’s plan and just build packs according to the needs of their various models but build them from commodity cells produced by others. Quantumscape cells and other stuff like that is a separate effort. Sure, they could build those cells up into packs in the same factory, but VW group has such diverse cell requirements – BEV, PHEV, HEV, that no one cell type can meet all the requirements across the whole group.

Lad

These guys are really good at creating vapor; Believe it when you see it!

zzzzzzzzzz

There are plenty of cell makers in Asia competing for lowest possible price. Daimler just dropped cell production idea, sticking with battery pack assembly. What is the point for for VW to jump into new industry they have no experience, when they are short on cash because of dieselgate?

ModernMarvelFan

VW is really good at talking…

I want to see some actions…

Four Electrics

I don’t think this will be approved, because it is not a good idea. VW has no demonstrated demand for electrics, certainly not to the level which warrants this kind of risk. Furthermore, if even Tesla is talking to LG, it’s very likely they or others can meet VW’s best case near term demand. The far future is too unpredictable. VW could well end up in Nissan’s boat: battery factories that are already obsolete, with no competitive advantage.