Electric car: How Volkswagen wants to counter Chinese dominance

Electric car: How Volkswagen wants to counter Chinese dominance

Volkswagen takes its supply of electric cars very seriously. PowerCo, a subsidiary of the German car manufacturer that specializes in batteries, has signed an important agreement with the Belgian materials specialist Umicore (4 billion euros in sales, 11,000 employees, 46 production sites worldwide), the two groups announced this Monday. At stake: an investment of 3 billion euros.

The two companies will produce “cathodes and precursor materials” in sufficient quantities to power “2.2 million all-electric vehicles per year” by the end of the decade, according to a joint press release.

The future joint venture, in which the partners are investing equally, is scheduled to start production in 2025 and initially supply the PowerCo cell plant in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony, in order to achieve an annual capacity of 40 gigawatt hours in 2026 and four by 2030, depending on the development of the market.

50% of total cell value

The cathode material makes up “around 50 percent of the total value of the battery cell” and thus its performance, comments Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Board Member for Technology. The joint venture, whose name has yet to be announced, will be based in Brussels and will supply much of the needs of Volkswagen’s future “gigafactories” in Europe. It is “a new step forward for a more independent and resilient Europe in the electric vehicle supply chain,” adds Thomas Schmall.

European independence and sovereignty in relation to electric cars is an important strategic issue. And there is still work to be done, as Europe, which decided to ban new non-electric cars by 2035, is now largely dependent on… China.

Reference: www.challenges.fr

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