Vehicle OEM Volkswagen Group has launched a new company that will take responsibility for global battery activities of the firm as it breaks ground on its lithium-ion battery gigafactory in Germany.
In addition to cell production, the new company will be responsible for managing international factory operations, the further development of cell technology, the vertical integration of the value chain and the supply of machinery and equipment to the factories.
Up to 2030, PowerCo plans to invest more than €20 billion, together with partners, to generate annual sales in excess of €20 billion and employ up to 20,000 people in Europe alone.
By 2030, the Volkswagen Group intends to operate six cell factories with a total volume of 240GWh throughout Europe, together with partners.
PowerCo is exploring the possibility of further gigafactories in North America in addition to the Salzgitter plant and a cell factory planned for Valencia, Spain, along with other European sites that have yet to be identified.
PowerCo is being managed by CEO Frank Blome and board members Sebastian Wolf (chief operations officer), Kai Alexander Müller (chief financial officer), Soonho Ahn (chief technology officer), Jörg Teichmann (chief purchasing officer) and Sebastian Krapoth (chief human resources officer).
Thomas Schmall, technology and supervisory board chairman of PowerCo, said: “PowerCo will become a global battery player. The company’s major strength will be vertical integration from raw materials and the cell right through to recycling. In future, we will handle all the relevant activities in-house and will gain a strategic competitive advantage in the race to take the lead in e-mobility. We have secured a top team for this great undertaking.”
The Salzgitter plant will be used as the blueprint for Volkswagen’s cell factories throughout Europe.
The plant will manufacture prismatic unified cells that Volkswagen unveiled at its Power Day in 2021.
The unified cell allows the flexible use of different cell chemistries and will be used in up to 80% of all Group models.
Once completed, the Salzgitter plant will make cells from 2025 onwards with the goal of reaching an annual capacity of 40GWh.
Blome “What we have put to the test millions of times over with vehicle platforms such as the MQB and MEB will also lay the foundation for establishing cell production: we will be standardising on the basis of European standards and upscaling. This way, we will combine speed and cost optimisation with the highest quality levels.
“Standardisation will not only cover equipment, buildings and infrastructure but also products, processes and IT.
“This way, factories that can rapidly be converted for further product and production innovations will be created. Each factory will be operated 100% on electricity from regenerative sources and will be designed for future closed-loop recycling.”