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Volkswagen is building six new battery factories in Europe

Europe’s largest carmaker needs a huge amount of batteries to reach about 70 percent of its sales from electric cars by 2030.

Volkswagen

will present its new battery strategy on Monday, which is central to the biggest revolution the company has made in its history: the shift from the focus on the combustion engine to the electric motor.

Until now, the Volkswagen group (Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Skoda, Seat and Lamborghini) has purchased the batteries for its electric cars from external partners, such as the Chinese CATL or the South Korean battery giants LG and Samsung.

Do it yourself

That must change in the coming years. Volkswagen is going to do a lot more itself. In Salzgitter, not far from the VW headquarters in Wolfsburg, a factory is being built together with the Swedish battery specialist Northvolt that would produce 40 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of batteries annually from 2024. That is smaller than the ‘gigafactory’ that Tesla is building near Berlin. It can produce batteries for 100 GWh annually.

Tesla is building a large battery factory a stone’s throw from Berlin.
© Patrick Pleul / dpa-Zentralbild / ZB

In addition to Salzgitter, there will be a new 40 GWh battery factory in Sweden, which should be operational in 2023. Volkswagen remains vague about the remaining four factories for the time being. A third factory will be built in France, Spain or Portugal in 2026. “That depends on the conditions that the various authorities can offer us,” says VW. A fourth factory will be located in Eastern Europe. No region has yet been determined for the last two factories.

Cheaper battery

Volkswagen’s own battery production is one of the components with which VW wants to reduce battery costs by 50 percent. It hopes to realize a real breakthrough for the electric car. To this end, the network of fast charging points of Volkswagen and its partners will also be increased fivefold to 18,000.

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