VW Group begins battery cell testing in Salzgitter

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VW Group has opened its pilot line for small-series battery cell production at its Center of Excellence (CoE) in Salzgitter, Germany. As part of this, the OEM is investing over €100m (US$109.4m) in amassing its own development and production know-how.

Over 1,000 jobs are to be created by 2023/24 in testing and production. Of those, 300 will be within the development center and pilot line, and 700 through the joint venture between Northvolt and Volkswagen to build and operate a battery cell factory.

Over €1bn (US$1.09bn) is to be invested in VW Group’s battery cell activities over the same period. Of this, VW group is spending €900m (US$984m) in its joint battery development activities with Northvolt.

It will begin construction of a 16GW/hr battery cell factory in Salzgitter in 2020, with production scheduled for 2023/early 2024.

Dr Stefan Sommer, member of the Volkswagen board of management responsible for procurement, commented, “Bringing together the development, testing and pilot production of battery cells in Salzgitter marks a further milestone in the Volkswagen Group’s comprehensive electric offensive. 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.”

VW Group has also established a battery cell business area at Volkswagen Group components, where it will develop technologies in cooperation with suppliers. Research will look at increasing battery capacities, raw materials, and how to reduce use of scarce materials, sustainable manufacturing, as well as recycling of battery systems.

Thomas Schmall, chairman of the board of management of VW Group components, said, “We already develop and manufacture power electronics, battery systems, electric motors and charging systems, and are building up battery recycling know-how. With the integration of the battery cell business area, Volkswagen Group Components is on track to becoming a globally leading producer of e-mobility components.”

Frank Blome, head of the Center of Excellence, commented, “Today’s commissioning of the pilot line is an important step on the road to building a gigafactory at the Salzgitter site. We will further deepen our knowledge of production processes within a short space of time. That is important in order to shape future developments and thus secure performance and costs as well as quality. The experience gained will also contribute to mastering the entire value chain for lithium-ion batteries – from raw materials through production to recycling.”

The dispension of the battery slurry is done manually in gloveboxes

The electrode sheets are precisely and automatically stacked

During the formation and aging process the cell is electrical contacted, charged and uncharged and voltage monitored

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the groundbreaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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