Volkswagen has commenced the production of high-voltage battery systems in China, marking a significant step in the development of electric vehicles (EVs) in the region. Volkswagen (Anhui) Components (VWAC) is responsible for supplying batteries to the adjacent MEB vehicle plant in Anhui, with plans to later introduce cell-to-pack battery systems.
The initial annual capacity of the facility is estimated to be between 150,000 and 180,000 units, according to Volkswagen Group China. While this figure falls below the vehicle plant's capacity of up to 350,000 MEB vehicles annually, there is potential for the battery assembly plant to expand in the future to align with the demands of the vehicle plant.
Among the forthcoming MEB vehicles to be produced in Anhui is the Cupra Tavascan SUV coupé, scheduled for release in 2024, which will also be exported to the European market.
Notably, the new VWAC plant is deemed the “Volkswagen Group's first wholly-owned battery system factory in China,” differentiating it from other Chinese MEB plants where batteries are not assembled by the automaker itself.
The MEB battery system assembly at the VWAC plant adheres to a traditional concept, where production robots and workers assemble multiple cell modules along with controllers, battery management systems, and cabling to create a fully integrated battery pack. Approximately 96% of the components required for battery production are sourced locally.
Looking ahead, Volkswagen anticipates the next phase of battery assembly, with VWAC set to produce cell-to-pack battery packs using the Group's standard cells developed in collaboration with Gotion High-Tech. VWAC is slated to become the first subsidiary within the Group to manufacture cell-to-pack systems, although specific details on the timing and vehicle application remain undisclosed.
Spanning 45,000 square meters, the battery assembly plant was constructed within twelve months, showcasing the efficiency of the development process, often referred to as “Hefei speed” by Volkswagen.