VW pouring US$20 billion into PowerCo factories for cheaper prismatic battery production in a move to topple Tesla
While Tesla is fighting with counting methods over whether it is still the world's largest electric car maker, or did it pass the crown to BYD last quarter, a relative newcomer to the mass-produced EV industry - Volkswagen - may be on the way to surpass them both. Recently, a Bloomberg Intelligence analysis pegged VW as the most likely contender to become the top electric vehicle manufacturer in 2024. Tesla's CEO Elon Musk himself heaped praise to the German automaker's EV strategy in a meeting with Volkswagen execs.
Among the reasons for its prediction, Bloomberg cites the fact that "Volkswagen is investing up to EUR30 billion in the supply chain, including the opening of six new battery-cell plants in Europe by 2030." Well, Volkswagen just gave a name to that battery production push, setting it up as a dedicated division called PowerCo. It will be in charge of a US$20 billion investment into setting up said six battery factories in Europe and possibly a few in North America.
The first Volkswagen EV battery factory broke ground in Salzgitter with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz present at the ceremony and commenting that "Volkswagen is showing how the future of sustainable, climate-compatible mobility could look." The opening event was lovingly called Salzgiga, in a play of words with Tesla's Gigafactory locations. From Salzgitter, VW plans to "manage international factory operations, the further development of cell technology, the vertical integration of the value chain and the supply of machinery and equipment to the factories."
The next Volkswagen battery plant will be operational in Valencia, Spain, while the automotive conglomerate is exploring a number of other sites in Europe and North America in order to secure 240GWh of its battery-driven future. This future apparently hinges on the prismatic unified cell whose pilot production Northvolt teased last year and which VW now unveiled officially. The Salzgiga factory alone will be making up to 40GWh of those as VW says they cost 50% less to produce and will be in the majority of VW's electric vehicles going forward.