Does Volkswagen plan to build its own battery gigafactory?

Does Volkswagen plan to build its own battery gigafactory?

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By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The message has been spread by news agency dpa, Germany’s largest and most respected wire service. Citing sources within Volkswagen, the report says that within the carmaker’s top level the sentiment is changing towards electromobility. Towards this end, the company is considering an investment in the multi-billion euro range to establish its own battery production. As to the location, the city of Salzgitter near Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg is in discussion.


Volkswagen declined to comment, calling the report “speculations”. However, a spokesperson stressed  that Volkswagen is clearly committed to electromobility.


The carmaker is currently offering two electric vehicles: The e-Golf compact car, a derivative of the popular Golf model, and the e-up, the electric version of the eponymous subcompact. Both models however are sold in rather homeopathic quantities.


In the wake of the ongoing Diesel scandal the company’s top management several times highlighted its intention towards strategic changes with electric vehicles (EV and HEV) playing a more important role in Volkswagen’s future product spectrum.


Currently the German carmakers acquire the batteries for their battery electric and hybrid electric vehicles mostly from providers in the Far East. An attempt by Volkswagen competitor Daimler to establish an own battery cell production in Germany failed; the company ceased the production of lithium ion cells for traction batteries in late 2015. Nevertheless, the discussion about the importance to offer all-electric cars for future markets is going on. At the recent congress of the VDA, the association of the German automotive industry, high-ranking managers fiercely demanded a stronger commitment to electromobility. Stefan Niemand, head of VW group member Audi’s Battery Electric Vehicles unit, said in a much acclaimed speech at the congress: “Let’s face it: Our customers want speed without remorse … who ever drove an electric vehicle is lost for internal combustion cars forever.”


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