Volkswagen is stepping up its game to become the world’s biggest electric-car maker with a plan to build six battery factories in Europe and global investments in charging stations.
The manufacturer, which already has agreements for two sites, is exploring options for another four plants for a total capacity of 240 gigawatt-hours by the end of the decade, VW said in a statement. VW has the most comprehensive EV plan in the industry that’ll add about 50 purely battery-powered vehicles to its lineup by 2030.
“We are now systematically integrating additional stages in the value chain,” chief executive officer Herbert Diess said. “We secure a long-term pole position in the race for the best battery.”
The plants will have a capacity of 40 gigawatt-hours each, and VW is looking for partners for four of them for development. The carmaker changed course to construct a site in Salzgitter, Germany, on its own after a previous plan to join forces with Northvolt. The battery firm will still be its partner for a factory at Skelleftea in Sweden, announcing VW will order $US14 billion ($18.1 billion) in battery cells.
Emulating Tesla as well as General Motors. with a dedicated battery event dubbed “Power Day,” VW is giving the deepest dive yet on its strategy to beat a path to an electric future selling millions of EVs. Batteries have emerged as the key battleground with concerns over high costs squeezing margins and supply of raw materials such as nickel and cobalt.
VW will also invest €400 million euros ($615 million) by 2025 to build out much-needed charging infrastructure in Europe, after the region overtook China in EV sales last year. Fast-charging in Europe will grow five-fold to 18,000 stations, helped by co-operations with BP in the UK, Iberdrola and Spain and Enel in Italy as well as VW’s existing Ionity GmbH consortium.
In North America, VW is adding 3500 stations for this year and 17,000 points in China by 2025. Co-operations on charging as well as strategic partnerships on batteries will help VW safeguard financial targets including a 6 per cent capital investment ratio by 2025 and an adjusted annual net cash flow of more than 10 billion euros, the carmaker said.
The carmaker aims to at least double its share of deliveries that are fully electric this year, which could bring it within striking distance to Tesla’s EV sales. After years of trailing Tesla, VW’s ID.3 hatchback and the Porsche Taycan based on dedicated underpinnings have stacked up well.