German car manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) is expanding its partnerships with a number of parties as part of efforts to secure a sustainable supply of batteries for electric vehicles (EV) in the future.
Volkswagen recently entered into partnerships with three new partners namely Umicore, battery specialist 24M Technologies and clean technology company Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd.
“Volkswagen implemented its battery strategy very consistently and at high speed. Volkswagen's integrated cell had to be at the forefront of performance, cost and sustainability from the start. With our new partner, we are one step closer to achieving this goal,” said Thomas Schmall, member Volkswagen Group management board in an official statement, quoted Wednesday.
Although these three partnerships are independent of each other, they share a common goal, namely the industrialization of battery technology and the production volume of even more sustainable, cutting-edge batteries.
The Volkswagen Group has consistently applied its technology roadmap to the internal development and production of battery cells, as presented at Power Day earlier this year. In Europe alone, the automotive group plans to build six gigafactories by 2030.
With clean mobility specialist Umicore, VW plans to set up a joint venture designed to supply Volkswagen AG's cell plants with cathode materials.
For Volkswagen AG, this is the next logical step towards vertical integration of the supply chain, having decided to set up large-scale integrated cell production in-house.
The goal is to gradually increase the production capacity of the joint venture, starting in 2025 with an initial production of 20 GWh for the Volkswagen gigafactory in Salzgitter, Germany.
The ultimate goal is to achieve an annual production capacity of up to 160 GWh by the end of this decade or an annual production capacity to power approximately 2.2 million BEV.
To develop cutting-edge production technology for its cell plant, Volkswagen AG is investing in Cambridge-based battery start-up 24M, a spin-off of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The goal is to industrialize 24M technology, a semi-solid process that is an improvement over the dry coating process, in the automotive battery field.
The target is to achieve considerable cost optimization in future battery production, by reducing material use and eliminating several steps from the conventional production process.
Meanwhile with Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd, VW is focused on providing lithium hydroxide over a five-year period starting from 2026. This product will contribute to securing Volkswagen's demand for future in-house cell production in both Germany and Europe. Further aspects of a possible strategic partnership are under negotiation.