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Volkswagen

Volkswagen deals to secure European EV lithium-ion battery materials and cheaper cell manufacturing

Mon, 12/13/2021 - 13:58 -- Paul Crompton

Volkswagen’s battery strategy is gathering pace with the vehicle OEM securing materials deals to supply its European lithium-ion cell production and investing in a US battery manufacturing process firm.

The first was to increase precursor and cathode material production capacities in Europe through the establishment of a joint venture with Australian firm Umicore.

The firms plan to gradually ramp up precursor and cathode material production capacity from 2025 with an initial annual production of 20GWh of materials for Volkswagen’s plant in Salzgitter, Germany.

Annual production capacity would then grow to 160GWh— enough to power around 2.2 million electric vehicles— by the end of the decade. 

The JV’s portfolio offering will cover next-generation technologies, including high-nickel chemistries. 

Thomas Schmall, member of the board of management of Volkswagen Group for Technology, and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, said: “Volkswagen is implementing its battery strategy very consistently and at a high pace.

“Teaming up with Umicore enables us to establish a state-of-the-art supply chain in Europe as we share common values such as responsible sourcing of raw materials, as well as closed-loop thinking.”

In the context of the JV, Umicore and Volkswagen will collaborate on the “sustainable and responsible” sourcing of raw materials, with both parties planning to include elements of refining and battery recycling into the JV at a later stage.

Lithium offtake agreement

Volkswagen Group has also secured a binding lithium offtake deal with Vulcan Energy.

The deal is for the purchase of a minimum of 34,000 tonnes and a maximum of 42,000 tonnes of battery grade lithium hydroxide over the duration of the agreement, which is for an initial five-year term.

Commercial delivery of the material is expected to begin in 2026. 

Volkswagen Group and Vulcan have also agreed to a first right of refusal to invest in additional capacity in the latter’s Zero Carbon Lithium Project, which is a lithium hydroxide monohydrate chemical product from its geothermal lithium brine project in the Upper Rhine Valley, Germany.

Investment in 24M Technologies

Volkswagen announced this week it would invest in Cambridge, US-based battery start-up 24M, with the goal of industrialising the latter's semi-solid process that improves the dry coating process, in the automotive battery area. 

The target is to generate "considerable cost optimisation" in future battery production by reducing material usage and eliminating several steps from the conventional production process. 

For this purpose, a new Volkswagen-owned subsidiary will further develop and upscale the technology for automotive applications based on 24M intelectual properties. 

24M President and CEO, Naoki Ota, said: “[Volkswagen's] investment, collaborative development and ability to scale globally will accelerate our manufacturing platform, thereby replacing the conventional manufacturing process and fast tracking electric vehicle adoption.” 

Prospective benefits include up to 40% less production area, considerable savings on investment and more efficient product recycling, as well as the reduction of the CO2 footprint of battery production. 

Implementing the process in large-scale production is targeted for the second half of the decade sunject to customary closing conditions allowing the transaction.

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VW and Northvolt JV plans for EU lithium-ion gigafactory gain momentum

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 15:42 -- Paul Crompton

Vehicle OEM Volkswagen is investing €450 ($487million) to construct the buildings and infrastructure of a European lithium-ion gigafactory it is developing with its joint venture partner Northvolt.

Construction of the Northvolt Zwei factory in Salzgitter, Germany— close to VW’s existing Center of Excellence for Battery Cells— is due to begin by the close of the year with cell production scheduled for early 2024.

 

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VW follows Tesla with move to 811 lithium-ion cells in hunt for higher driving range

Wed, 04/01/2020 - 14:17 -- Paul Crompton

German vehicle OEM Volkswagen is moving to a NMC 811 cell format in its electric vehicle battery packs with the “medium to long term” goal of one day producing cobalt free cells.

The company is following Tesla’s lead in moving to the NMC 811 cell format, which VW’s China battery supplier CATL believes gives better performance capabilities over its previous NCM 523 cells. 

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CATL plans cash boost for German EV gigafactory project

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 13:16 -- John Shepherd
CATL plans cash boost for German EV gigafactory project

Chinese lithium giant Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) has revealed it is set to pour a total of up to €1.8 billion (US$2.1bn) of cash into its planned electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Germany.

CATL said the proposed investment included €240 million already pledged for the project at Erfurt, in the east-central state of Thüringen.

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VW coy on partnership and funding for €1bn battery cells plant

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 13:13 -- John Shepherd
VW coy on partnership and funding for €1bn battery cells plant

German carmaker Volkswagen is to invest “just under €1 billion” (US$1.1bn) to build a battery cell production facility in the country with an undisclosed partner.

A VW spokesperson told BEST Battery Briefing its partner would be “a European-based company” but declined to elaborate. 

However, the spokesperson revealed the plant would have an annual production capacity of 10GWh and could be in operation by 2022/2023.

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SK Innovation ‘in battery venture talks with VW, China’

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 12:54 -- Hugh Finzel

South Korea’s SK Innovation (SKI) is reportedly in talks to establish two separate battery production joint ventures— one with Volkswagen and another with Chinese partners.

SKI confirmed talks with Volkswagen in an interview with Reuters, saying the two companies were discussing building a factory together. SKI also said I was “on the cusp” of agreeing plans to build a plant in China with “undisclosed partners”.

The president of SKI’s batteries business YS Yoon told Reuters: “Our strategy is to keep up with technological advancement by having relationships with some of our key customers. Compared with rivals, we’ve been matching or exceeding investment in the (EV batteries) area since last year.”

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Novel start-up forging ahead with VW investment

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 00:00 -- Hugh Finzel
Dr Paul Lichty

US-based start-up Forge Nano has received a US$10 million investment from German car maker Volkswagen— funds the company will use to continue investigating and developing “a material coating technology that could further improve the performance of battery materials”.

Forge Nano has been investigating processes for scaling atomic layer deposition— “a chemical process for applying atomic scale coatings one atom at a time”— to create new core-shell materials, particularly for battery applications, with the aim of boosting the energy density of electric vehicle battery cells.

Forge Nano founder and CEO Dr Paul Lichty (pictured) said the company’s “atomically precise surface engineering technology is ushering in a new era of high performance materials”.

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VW ups Quantumscape investment for solid-state batteries

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 11:11 -- John Shepherd
VW ups Quantumscape investment for solid-state batteries

Volkswagen is investing $100 million to increase its stake in US battery start-up Quantumscape and “accelerate” commercialisation of innovative solid-state battery technology.

VW said the deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will make it Quantumscape’s largest automotive shareholder and will give the car giant a seat on the board.

 

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VW confirms plan for battery cells pilot plant

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 10:23 -- John Shepherd
VW confirms plan for battery cells pilot plant

Volkswagen has told BBB it will build a pilot manufacturing plant for battery cells in Germany as part of a new corporate “centre of excellence”.

The pilot facility, on which work is expected to start by 2019, will be incorporated with an existing VW plant in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony, a VW spokesperson confirmed.

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Volkswagen ‘to buy EUR20bn of batteries from Asia’

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 09:51 -- Xuan Zhong
Volkswagen ‘to buy EUR20bn of batteries from Asia’

Volkswagen has reportedly earmarked EUR20 billion ($25bn) to buy in lithium batteries for its electric vehicle business from China’s CATL, South Korea’s LG Chem and Samsung SDI.

China’s state Xinhua News Agency said the move was agreed by VW at its annual general meeting in Berlin— although BBB could not independently confirm the report.

 

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