The Volkswagen Group is aiming to switch 80% of its EV line-up to a single battery cell format by 2030, a move that it says will radically reduce the cost of electric cars.
VW has also committed to a massive expansion of electric car battery production, with plans to open six gigafactories in Europe by the end of the decade.
The plans were unveiled at the VW Group’s first Power Day event, and are part of moves by the group to gain an edge in electric vehicles through battery technology.
VW Group boss Herbert Diess said: “E-mobility has won the race. It is the only solution to reduce emissions fast. It is the key pillar of Volkswagen’s future strategy, and our goal is to secure pole position in the global scaling of batteries.
“Power will become a new core competence from Volkswagen and an integral part of our new strategy.”
VW Group Unified Battery Cell to launch in 2023
The VW Group will start to introduce a new ‘Unified Cell Concept’ into models from 2023 onwards, with the cell used in 80% of its global EV line-up by 2030. The technology will make its first appearance on the first VW Group model to use the new Artemis platform being developed by Audi.
Thomas Schmall, the VW Group’s technology boss, said: “We aim to reduce the cost and complexity of the battery and at the same time increase its range and performance. This will finally make e-mobility affordable and the dominant drive technology.”
Schmall said that optimising the cell type, “innovative” production methods and recycling would reduce battery costs in entry-level models by 50%, and in ‘volume segment’ models by 30%. He added: “We will drive down the cost of battery systems to significantly below €100 per kilowatt hour.”
Six battery gigafactories planned
The VW Group is also working on plans for future battery technology, with a heavy focus on making solid state batteries – which are lighter and faster to charge – production-ready.
The firm is aiming to take much of its battery production in-house, with plans to construct six gigafactories across Europe by 2030. Each factory will have production capacity for 40GWh, giving the group a total European battery production capacity of 240GWh.
The first two factories will be located in Skellefteå, Sweden, and Salzgitter, Germany. The Skellefteå site will focus on ‘premium cell’ production, while Salzgitter will produce the new unified battery from 2025 onwards.
One of the remaining sites will be located in southern Europe, likely Spain, with the other in eastern Europe. VW has yet to finalise the location for the remaining two.