Since announcing its plan to build 2 to 3 million electric cars a year and to unveil 30 new models by 2025 – across all its brands (VW, Audi, Porsche, etc.), Volkswagen has been rumored to be planning to build one or more giant battery factory to support this plan.
But the German automaker has yet to confirm any plan to build one, though they now admitted seeing a need for 40 Gigafactory-size battery factories for electric vehicles by 2025.
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Ulrich Eichhorn, head of r&d for VW, made the comment to reporters on June 30 during a presentation – via Auto News Europe.
The executive estimates that the Volkswagen group alone would need 200 GWh of battery cell production by 2025 and his reference to 40 Tesla Gigafactories was for the entire auto industry assuming that all other automakers are also targeting 25% of their production to be electric vehicles on average by then.
But he also referred to Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 as having a capacity of 35 GWh, which is actually Tesla’s 2018 target. They plan to have a battery cell production capacity of 105 GWh and a battery pack production capacity at the plant of 150 GWh by 2020.
Anyway, it’s interesting to hear a VW executive being aware of the important battery supply issue to support electric vehicles, but so far it’s not resulting in any new factory.
Last year, an insider report came out saying that Volkswagen was about to present to its board of directors a project similar to Tesla’s Gigafactory and build a ‘multi-billion euro battery factory’, but Volkswagen CEO, Matthias Müller, later denied the plan.
He said that he didn’t see much value in working on battery cell production themselves, but later in the same year, Müller said that it would probably make sense for VW to have its own production if they aim for 25% of their sales to be electric.
While management seems to be warming up to the idea of investing in their own battery cell production, they were supposed to clarify their plan for battery sourcing by the end of last year, which didn’t happen.
In the meantime, Tesla and Panasonic are moving forward with Gigafactory 1 in Nevada, where we recently reported that several thousand people are currently working, and CEO Elon Musk says that Tesla is getting ready to announce several more locations for new Gigafactories by the end of the year.
Daimler also announced new battery factories to support its electric vehicle production. They recently inaugurated a new plant in Germany and they announced a new $740 million battery factory in China for Mercedes-Benz’s EVs.