Volkswagen has entered into three brand-new partnerships as the Group looks to further expand its electrified vehicle line-up across the coming decade.
The three new “strategic partnerships”, each of which are independent of one another, are in place to ramp up VW’s EV production, with the Group aiming to increase annual production to 2.2 million electric vehicles by 2030. The expansion plan will also see the VW Group open six new Gigafactories across Europe before the end of the decade to keep in-house development and production of battery cells running smoothly.
“Volkswagen is implementing its battery strategy very consistently and at a high pace,” explains CEO of Volkswagen Group Components Thomas Schmall in an official statement. “Volkswagen’s unified cell must be at the forefront of performance, costs and sustainability right from the start. With our new partners, we are one step closer to reaching this goal. Together, we will focus on key parts of the battery value chain and develop cutting-edge technologies.”
VW’s first partnership is a joint venture with Belgian mining company, Umicore, which will supply Volkswagen’s European cell factories with cathodes for its battery packs. Starting with an initial production of 20 GWh for VW’s established gigafactory in Salzgitter, Germany, the plan is to increase capacity to 160 GWh by the end of the decade to meet VW’s proposed 2.2 million production goals.
The second partnership is with UK-based battery start-up 24M Technologies, Inc, a spin-off of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that is currently developing a dry coating process said to streamline battery cell production. As well as reducing overall costs and using “up to 40 percent less production area”, 24M also claims the developing process could offer an easier way to recycle batteries when they reach the end of their lifecycle, a significant sticking point for prospective EV owners. Large-scale production is expected to begin in the second half of the decade.
Finally, Volkswagen has also signed an agreement with Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd for the supply of C02-neutral lithium, a significant area of discussion when it comes to the environmental impact of battery production. The eco-friendly lithium will be sourced from the Upper Rhine Valley in Germany, with supplies are set to begin from 2026 onwards for at least five years. An extension to this deal is also being discussed.