Here are the biggest announcements from Volkswagen’s battery event

Here are the biggest announcements from Volkswagen’s battery event
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Here are the biggest announcements from Volkswagen’s battery event

Here are the biggest announcements from Volkswagen’s battery event

Volkswagen Group unveiled an enormous push to drive down the price of manufacturing batteries for its electrical automobiles in the hopes of rushing the transition away from gas-powered automobiles.

The automaker, which is the second largest in the world based mostly on gross sales, stated it might cut back the prices of manufacturing its batteries by as much as 50 p.c, construct a number of battery factories round the world, broaden its community of charging stations, and ultimately transition to solid-state expertise that may lower prices and enhance effectivity. The final word aim is to make electrical automobiles with longer ranges and faster charging instances — two of the biggest boundaries to mass EV adoption.

The race for big enhancements in battery expertise is considered one of the costliest and hotly contested on the planet proper now. Virtually each automaker is betting that electrical automobiles will likely be the future, with a few of the largest nations (and largest auto markets) in the world transferring to part out gas-powered automobiles and vans. To make sure that shift, batteries have to be extra highly effective, last more, and be cheaper to make with the intention to entice sufficient clients to make the swap from fuel to electrical.

“Our transformation will likely be quick, it is going to be unprecedented,” stated VW Group CEO Herbert Diess. “The transformation will likely be greater than something the trade has seen in the final century.”

The automaker’s practically two-hour “Energy Day” was extensively seen as an echo of Tesla’s current “Battery Day” event. Each automakers touched on points round battery chemistry, provide chain, manufacturing, and charging as a strategy to make electrical automobiles extra inexpensive and engaging to a wider swath of shoppers. Here are the biggest announcements from VW’s Energy Day event:

Unified battery cells

Beginning in 2023, VW plans to roll out a brand new unified prismatic cell design of its batteries that will likely be put in throughout the automaker’s manufacturers. The aim is to have this unified cell design powering as much as 80 p.c of VW’s electrical automobiles by 2030.

Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Board Member for Know-how, stated the aim was to drive down the price of battery manufacturing under $100 per kWh, which most consultants consider will make EVs roughly the similar value as gas-powered automobiles.

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The worth per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the unit of power mostly used to measure the capability of the battery packs in fashionable electrical automobiles. These costs have been falling dramatically over the final decade, from $1,100 / kWh in 2010 to $156 / kWh in 2019, a drop of 87 p.c.

“We intention to scale back the price and complexity of the battery and at the similar time enhance its vary and efficiency,” Schmall stated. “It will lastly make e-mobility inexpensive and the dominant drive expertise.”

VW hopes to drive the price down even additional with extra environment friendly manufacturing and a strong recycling course of. The automaker goals to “progressively” cut back battery prices in the entry-level section by as much as 50 p.c and in the quantity section by as much as 30 p.c.

Volkswagen “gigafactories”

A method Volkswagen plans to spice up manufacturing of battery-powered automobiles is thru an enormous enlargement of its manufacturing footprint. The automaker plans to have six battery cell manufacturing vegetation working in Europe by 2030, which it can construct alone or with companions.

The primary two vegetation will likely be in Salzgitter, Germany, and Skelleftea, Sweden; a 3rd plant will likely be established both in Spain, Portugal, or France; and the fourth manufacturing unit will likely be based mostly in Jap Europe. The vegetation can have a manufacturing capability of 240 gigawatt-hours a 12 months, Schmall stated.

On the similar day as VW’s event, Swedish battery maker Northvolt stated it had acquired an order from the automaker value $14 billion. Northvolt will even promote its share in joint-venture Northvolt Zwei to Volkswagen. The Swedish firm has stated it plans to extend its market share in Europe to 25 p.c by 2030.

Charging enlargement

Volkswagen stated it intends to have 18,000 public fast-charging factors in operation in Europe by 2025, a fivefold enhance over the present state of EV charging in the continent.

This will likely be achieved via a collection of strategic partnerships that had been introduced at the moment. VW stated it might crew up with oil big BP and high European utilities Enel and Iberdrola to broaden electrical car charging.

With BP, Volkswagen stated it desires to determine about 8,000 fast-charging factors all through Europe, with most of the stations concentrated in Germany and the UK. The fast-chargers with a charging capability of 150 kW will likely be put in at a complete of 4,000 BP and ARAL gasoline stations.

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In partnership with Spain’s Iberdrola, Volkswagen will cowl foremost visitors routes throughout that nation. In Italy, Volkswagen will work with Enel to determine fast-charging stations alongside main highways and in city areas. The automaker plans to spend about €400 million to broaden its European EV charging community by 2025.

The corporate additionally stated it might have 17,000 public fast-charging stations in China and was on monitor to achieve 800 stations in the US via its Electrify America subsidiary by the finish of 2021.

Two-way charging

Beginning in 2022, automobiles constructed on VW’s modular MEB electrical car platform will help bidirectional, or two-way, charging. “It will permit inexperienced electrical energy from the photo voltaic power system to be saved in the car and fed again into the house community if wanted,” the firm stated. “Not solely will clients be extra impartial of the public energy grid, they will even lower your expenses and cut back CO2 emissions.”

VW plans to supply a spread of merchandise to allow this, together with a house power storage system and a cell EV charger that’s unconnected from the grid. It will allow automobile house owners to “grow to be their very own utility,” the firm claims.

The corporate additionally unveiled an cute EV charger robotic meant for fleet house owners.

Why now?

Volkswagen might want to enhance its battery experience and safe its provide chain whether it is to ship on its daring promise of creating electrical automobiles 50 p.c of its gross sales in the US by 2030. The corporate lately unveiled an idea sedan known as Trinity that it promised would function “excessive vary” and “quick charging time” by 2026. The automaker’s mass-manufactured modular electrical car platform, or “MEB,” will function the basis for this large shift.

Volkswagen introduced the MEB platform in 2018 as a part of its multibillion-dollar push into electrical automobiles. It consists of a modular battery pack that may scale to suit in another way sized automobiles, a motor, and different electronics — principally all of the technical underpinnings required to make an electrical car transfer. All of Volkswagen’s upcoming ID-branded electrical automobiles are being constructed on the MEB platform, and it’ll additionally energy sure automobiles from Volkswagen Group manufacturers like Audi, Seat, and Skoda.

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Volkswagen has stated it plans to promote entry to MEB, an concept that already attracted Ford, which goes to construct a industrial car powered by the German automaker’s platform. However additionally it is open to partnering with startups. The primary try, with Germany’s e.Go Cell, fell aside after the small startup grew to become bancrupt.

VW, which is the second largest automaker in the world based mostly on quantity, simply launched its first pair of long-range EVs, the Europe-only ID 3 hatchback and the ID 4 compact SUV, which simply began making deliveries in the US.

Initially, the ID 4’s battery pack, which is comprised of 288 pouch cells in 12 modules, will likely be produced by South Korea’s LG Chem. However as soon as ID 4 manufacturing shifts to Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2022, the batteries will likely be provided by SK Innovation, one other South Korean firm that lately opened a $2 billion manufacturing unit close by VW’s plant there.

Earlier than the event, experiences surfaced that VW could be pivoting away from its foremost battery provider, South Korea’s LG Chem, and was turning to China’s CATL, in accordance with Automotive Information, citing South Korea’s Cash As we speak on-line information web site.

VW additionally has contracts with two different main battery producers, Samsung and CATL. And the firm is backing a startup based mostly in San Jose, California, QuantumScape, which is engaged on extra energy-efficient solid-state batteries.

QuantumScape says its solid-state batteries will characterize a major enchancment over typical lithium-ion batteries, enabling electrical automobiles that may journey 80 p.c additional than an EV with a conventional battery. They maintain greater than 80 p.c of their capability after 800 charging cycles, they’re noncombustible, they usually’ll have volumetric power density of greater than 1,000 watt-hours per liter at the cell stage, which is almost double the density of top-rate industrial lithium-ion packs.

VW known as solid-state batteries “the finish recreation.”

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