- Joint venture with Umicore
- Participation in 24m Technologies
- Long-term agreement with Vulcan Energy Resources
The Volkswagen Group has closed three other strategic partnerships to strengthen its position in the Battery area. The new partners are the Material Technology Group Umicore, the battery specialist 24m Technologies and the CleanTech company Vulcan Energy Resources. The partnerships are independent of each other, but serve a common goal: the industrialization of battery technology and mass production of more sustainable, innovative batteries. The Volkswagen Group thus consistently relies its technology roadmap for in-house development and in-house production of battery cells, which he has presented in the framework of the Power Days in the spring. In Europe alone, the Group plans to build six giga factories until 2030.
“The unit cell of Volkswagen must convince in terms of performance, cost and sustainability from the beginning,” says Thomas Schmall, Member of the Board of Volkswagen AG for the Technology and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components. With the new partners, Volkswagen comes a step closer to this goal. Together, companies now want to tackle the central areas of the battery value chain.
Joint venture with Umicore
Volkswagen AG and Umicore, a leading manufacturer of clean mobility materials, are planning to establish a joint venture to supply the European cell factories of Volkswagen with cathode material. After determining for the special production of unit cells on a large scale, this is for the automotive group of the next logical step towards vertical integration of the supply chain.
Production should start 2025 with an initial capacity of 20 gigawatt hours for supply of Volkswagen GigaFabrik Salzgitter and then gradually increased. By the end of the decade, an annual production capacity of up to 160 gigawatt hours is sought, which corresponds to the need for the construction of around 2.2 million electric cars.
An important pillar is the establishment of a long-term partnership, which includes joint investments and a common framework for the development of next-generation technologies. In addition, the joint venture aims to jointly establish production capacities for precursor and cathode materials in Europe as well as the sustainable security of commodity capacities from responsible sources at competitive prices. This also includes cost optimization measures and the efficiency increase of production processes.
“We are pleased to support Volkswagen as a long-term partner in the implementation of its ambitious electrical strategy in Europe and to introduce our many years and proven know-how in materials for batteries into this unique joint venture. In terms of technology, innovation and industrial know-how, we complete ourselves optimally. We create a strong environment for the development of next-generation battery material technologies and ensure a considerable lead in this fast growing market.”- Mathias Miedreich, CEO Umicore
All planned measures and processes are subject to the approval of the competent supervisory authorities and fulfillment of contractual conditions. At the same time, Volkswagen AG and Umicore strive to involve parts of the refinement and recycling into the joint venture at a later date.
The joint venture supports VW in building a European battery supply chain and sets a strong signal for the establishment of forward-looking battery cell technologies in Europe.
Participation in 24m Technologies
In order to develop modern production technologies for cell factories, Volkswagen AG participates in the US-American Cambridge-based battery start-up 24m, a spin-off of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (with). The aim is the 24m technology – a semi-solid process that represents an improvement over the dry coating method – in the field of electric car batteries.
Perspectively, a significant cost optimization in battery production is to be achieved by reduced material use and discontinuation of several steps of the conventional production process. For this purpose, a new subsidiary of Volkswagen should develop and scales the technology based on patent rights of 24m for automotive applications.
“The mission of 24m is the development of a better, clean future of energy based on our technology,” says Naoki Ota, President and CEO of 24m. “Our relationship with Volkswagen extends the 24m ecosystem considerably. The investments of Volkswagen, the common development and the ability to scale worldwide will accelerate the development of our production platform to replace the conventional manufacturing process and rapidly promote the introduction of electric vehicles.”
The possible advantages include a production area reduced by up to 40 percent, significant savings in the investments, more efficient product recycling and the improvement of the CO2 balance sheet of battery production. The introduction of the procedure in large series production is planned for the second half of the decade, the conclusion of this transaction is subject to the usual final conditions.
Long-term agreement with Vulcan Energy Resources
Volkswagen AG and Vulcan Energy Resources have signed a contract for the delivery of CO2 neutral lithium from the Oberrheingraben in Germany. The binding contract provides for the supply of lithium hydroxide over a period of five years from 2026. The product will help to secure the needs of Volkswagen for future cell production in our own in Germany and Europe. Further aspects of a possible strategic partnership are currently being negotiated.
Francis Wedin, Managing Director: “Through this agreement, Vulcan Energy will become an important partner in connection with the aim of Volkswagen, climate-neutral electric vehicles – including all raw materials in the battery supply chain. We look forward to close cooperation with the Volkswagen Group to build a sustainable local lithium supply for the German and European automotive sector.”
Vulcan is currently developing a project for CO2-free extraction of lithium in the Oberrheingraben using a local, lithium-rich geothermal sole. The Vulcan Project Zero Carbon Lithium aims to create a sustainable and regional source of lithium from Europe’s largest deposit. For the production no fossil fuels or evaporation basins are needed.
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