Volkswagen begins pilot production of battery cells in Germany

2019-09-23 16:26

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BERLIN, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Volkswagen has opened a pilot production line for the manufacturing of automotive battery cells, Germany's largest car manufacturer announced on Monday.

According to Volkswagen, around 300 people will be working at the pilot line, which is set to produce battery cells for small series vehicles. Volkswagen aims to invest around 100 million euros (109.8 million U.S. dollars) in a first step in the small series production.

The pilot line is part of Volkswagen's so-called Center of Excellence research facility at its production site in the German city of Salzgitter, where Volkswagen aims to "optimize battery cells for future use in the group's electric models in cooperation with suppliers."

"By pooling know-how at this site, we are making sure we drive forward our own activities to further advance the development of battery cells as a key component in electrification, develop new standards and swiftly transition them to series production," said Stefan Sommer, Volkswagen Management Board member responsible for procurement.

The German car manufacturer sought to increase the capacity of its battery cells, reduce the use of raw materials as well as "optimize sustainable manufacturing processes through to recycling battery systems."

The experience gained at Volkswagen's research center in Salzgitter would "contribute to mastering the entire value chain for lithium-ion batteries -- from raw materials through production to recycling," emphasized Frank Blome, head of Volkswagen's Center of Excellence for Battery Cells.

In early September, Volkswagen announced the creation of a joint venture with Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt. The 50-50 venture envisages the construction of a 16-gigawatt-hour battery cell production factory in Salzgitter.

Volkswagen plans to invest 900 million euros in the joint venture, which is scheduled to start battery cell production in late 2023 or early 2024. (1 euro = 1.10 U.S. dollars)
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