Volkswagen takes the next step towards developing and producing electric car batteries

Volkswagen Group Components have opened a new cutting-edge laboratory for battery research and development in Europe in Salzgitter, Germany. The company is expanding its expertise in battery technology and taking the next step towards developing and producing its own battery cells for emobility.

From 2025  onwards, the Volkswagen unified cell is due to roll off the production line in Salzgitter. Around 250 experts will conduct research in cell development, analytics and testing across four laboratories. Volkswagen is investing around €70 million (£60 million/$83 million) in the facilities.

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Thomas Schmall, group board member for technology at Volkswagen AG and chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen Group Components, is responsible for the battery and charging technology roadmap across all brands in the Group.

Thomas Schmall, group board member for technology at Volkswagen AG, said: “With the new, state-of-the-art laboratories, we are further expanding our development, process and production expertise for the battery cell, the heart of the battery electric vehicle.

“Volkswagen’s Salzgitter site demonstrates how the transformation of the German automotive industry from conventional drive systems to e-mobility can succeed. We are attracting cutting-edge researchers and, as a pioneer in the industry, create the jobs of tomorrow.”

The new unified battery for the volume segment is scheduled to roll off the production line at the Gigafactory in Salzgitter from 2025. By 2030, the Volkswagen Group plans to operate six cell factories in Europe together with partners with a production capacity of 240GWh.

Prospectively, batteries with an annual capacity of 40GWh will be produced in Salzgitter. The new unified battery is expected to unlock synergies and reduce battery costs by up to 50 percent.

The Competence Center in Salzgitter is responsible for Volkwagen’s Group-wide material testing, release testing, quality assurance and series monitoring of cells for electric car batteries. Of the approximately 500 employees at the Center of Excellence (CoE) Battery Cell in Salzgitter, around 160 are currently involved in cell development.

By the end of 2022, the CoE is expected to grow to more than 1000 employees, including around 250 experts for research, analysis and development of suitable cell materials and formats. The new laboratories will be one of the most modern facilities for cell research in Europe.

Cutting-edge technologies are used here to put the cells through their paces. For example, Salzgitter has one of the world’s few scanning electron microscopes for detecting lithium.

Other equipment includes testing batteries for performance and signs of ageing during rapid charging and discharging. The test includes cells that can be charged from 5 to 80 percent battery power within 12 minutes.

This is great news for Volkswagen and Salzgitter with the new jobs these research labs are creating. Plus, by developing their own batteries, which could be potentially 50 percent cheaper, this will help Volkswagen reduce the overall price of their cars. This in turn will make them available to a wider audience and help speed up the change to driving electric.

Frank Blome, head of the battery cell and battery system business unit, said: “One of the most important future technologies for the Volkswagen Group is being driven forward here.

“Everything that is done at the Center of Excellence Battery Cell serves to provide customers of all Group brands with e-vehicles with the greatest possible range, charging performance, sustainability and safety.”

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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