At its “Power Day”, the Volkswagen (VW) Group presented its technology plan for the next years. The aim is to reduce the complexity and costs of the battery and to secure the need for battery cells beyond 2025. In Europe alone, six gigafactories with a total capacity of 240 GWh are to be built by the end of the decade. Volkswagen also wants to promote the global expansion of the public fast-charging network.
VW plans to reduce costs through in-house production of a unit cell
The aim is to reduce the cost and complexity of the battery while increasing its range and performance, making e-mobility finally affordable and the main technology for cars. Besides, the new unit cell will bring significant cost advantages. It will be introduced in 2023 and will be installed across all car models in up to 80 percent of all the Group’s electric vehicles in 2030.
Cell production in Europe
The new plants will produce cells with a total energy value of 240 GWh per year in the final stage. This is an active contribution to achieving the goals of the European Union’s Green Deal, according to Volkswagen. The first two factories are built in Skellefteå, Sweden, and in Salzgitter. Both plants should be in operation by 2025 at the latest, the first of which will be operational as early as 2023.
When manufacturing batteries, VW follows a closed cycle approach where more than 90 percent of the battery material can be reused for production. They put a recycling plant into operation in Salzgitter in January. This saves costs and a ton of CO2 per car simply by manufacturing the cathodes from recycled material
18,000 new charging stations in Europe
For the electric car to find widespread acceptance, more charging stations are needed. VW wants to invest massively in this area and is planning 18,000 public charging points across Europe with various partners by 2025. That corresponds to about a third of the total demand forecast for 2025. VW is also rapidly expanding the public fast-charging network in the USA and China.
The electric car as an energy buffer
VW wants to bring e-cars into the private and public energy network. Electricity can be stored in the vehicle and fed back into the power supply when required.
Whether VW implements this project as planned will be seen in the future. In any case, it is a step in the right direction.