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Vehicle OEMs form joint ventures to make lithium-ion batteries in Europe

Tue, 07/06/2021 - 11:43 -- paul Crompton
porsche ev

Two vehicle OEMs are aiming to navigate the pitfalls of securing a future battery supply for their electric cars by making the cells themselves.

Cellforce Group, a joint venture company between Porsche and lithium-ion battery firm Customcells, will produce battery cells at the Weissach Development Centre, Germany.

Porsche has a 83.75% stake in the new venture, which will be headquartered in Tübingen, Germany. 

The town is also on the shortlist for the location of the battery factory, which has a planned minimum annual capacity of 100MWh, or around 1,000 vehicles.

The Federal Republic of Germany and the state of Baden-Württemberg are funding the project with around €60 million ($71.4 million).

Oliver Blume, chairman of the Executive Board at Porsche, said: “The battery cell is the combustion chamber of the future. 

“This joint venture allows us to position ourselves at the forefront of global competition in developing the most powerful battery cell and make it the link between the driving experience and sustainability.”

Cellforce’s battery cell chemistry relies on silicon as the anode material, to deliver the same energy content with a smaller size. 

Chemical company BASF will exclusively provide NCM cathode materials after being chosen as a cell development partner.

The managing directors of Cellforce are Markus Gräf (chief operating officer), Wolfgang Hüsken (chief financial officer from Porsche), and Torge Thönnessen (chief technology officer from Customcells).

Volvo JV

Volvo Car Group intends to establish a joint venture with Swedish battery company Northvolt, to develop and produce batteries for the vehicle OEM’s next generation of pure electric cars.

The 50/50 joint venture initially aims to set up a research and development center in Sweden that will begin operations next year. 

The center plans to develop next-generation, “state-of-the-art” battery cells and vehicle integration technologies, and establish a new gigafactory in Europe.

The planned gigafactory could have up to 50GWh capacity per year, with production expected to start in 2026. The location of the new plant is yet to be decided.

As part of the plans, Volvo Car Group also aims to source 15GWh of battery cells per year from the existing Northvolt Ett battery plant in Skellefteå, Sweden starting in 2024. 

Volvo’s goal is for pure electric cars to make up half of all sales by the middle of this decade, and 100% by 2030.

The partnership and joint venture are subject to final negotiation and agreements between the parties, including board approval.

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