Volkswagen is stepping up efforts to become the world’s largest electric car maker, according to reports. To that end, the company announced today that it plans to build six battery factories in Europe and invest in charging stations around the world.
Volkswagen said in a statement today that as for the location of the six battery factories, two have been previously identified and agreements have been signed. Currently, sites are being selected for four other factories. By the end of the century, the plants will have a combined capacity of 240 gigawatt hours.
Volkswagen has the most comprehensive electric vehicle program in the industry, under which it will add about 50 purely battery-powered vehicles by 2030. “Currently, we are systematically integrating more stages in the value chain,” said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. “In the race for the best battery, we have a long-term advantage.”
The plants are planned to have an installed capacity of 40 gigawatt hours each. Currently, Volkswagen is looking for development partners for four of them.
At the gigafactory “Northvolt Ett” in Skellefteå, Sweden, the Volkswagen Group will jointly produce high-end batteries with Northvolt. The related production will start in 2023 and will gradually expand the annual production capacity to 40 GWh.
The Volkswagen Group’s battery plant in Salzgitter will start producing standard cells in 2025 and will carry out research and development innovations in process, design and chemical composition.
The plant will also have an annual capacity of 40 gigawatt hours. The Volkswagen Group said the production plan would increase the group’s economies of scale while reducing the complexity of the production process. Renewable energy will be the source of electricity for the first two gigafactories to be built.
Currently, the Volkswagen Group is considering potential sites and partners for the remaining four plants.
Today, Volkswagen has changed course and is ready to build it itself in Salzgitter, Germany. Nevertheless, Volkswagen and Northvolt AB maintain a partnership. Also, Volkswagen will order batteries worth $14 billion from Northvolt AB.
When the new plant is completed and put into operation, it will be able to produce a total of 240 gigawatt-hours of batteries per year. The first two factories will be located in Skellefteå, Sweden, and Salzgitter, Germany.
Volkswagen is currently taking the deepest foray into its electric vehicle strategy yet. Obviously, the battery is a key link and has become the core battlefield. To this end, Volkswagen also followed Tesla and General Motors and held a dedicated battery event “Power Day” (Power Day).
Volkswagen also said on “Battery Day” today that it will invest 400 million euros ($477 million) by 2025 to build much-needed charging infrastructure in Europe. Last year, Volkswagen sold more electric cars in Europe than China.
In North America, Volkswagen will add 3,500 charging stations this year. By 2025, 17,000 charging stations will be added in China. Volkswagen said the cooperation in the charging area, as well as the battery strategy, will help stabilize the company’s financial goals, including a capital investment rate of 6% by 2025 and an adjusted annual net cash flow of more than 10 billion euros.
Volkswagen is aiming to at least double its market share in pure electric vehicle deliveries this year, further reducing the distance to Tesla. After years of trailing Tesla, Volkswagen’s ID.3 and Porsche Taycan are doing well these days.
As automakers gradually expand the supply of electric vehicles, its new carmakers, such as Tesla and NIO, are aggressively advancing their battery plans. For example, Tesla’s under-construction Berlin car assembly plant will add a battery factory. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at a battery conference in November that the factory will initially have more than 100 gigawatt-hours of annual capacity and will eventually reach 250 gigawatt-hours.