Volkswagen plans to build half a dozen battery cell plants in Europe and expand infrastructure for charging electric vehicles globally, accelerating its efforts to speed up the mass adoption of battery-powered cars.
The world’s second largest carmaker, which recently signalled a major shift towards battery-powered cars, said it wants to have six battery cell gigafactories operating in Europe by 2030, which it will build alone or with partners.
“Our transformation will be fast, it will be unprecedented,” Chief Executive Herbert Diess told Volkswagen’s Power Day, which also featured the CEOs of BP, Enel and Iberdrola mimicking Tesla’s Battery Day last September.
“E-mobility has become core business for us,” he added.
Volkswagen said the European factories will have a joint production capacity of up to 240 gigawatt hours (GWh) a year. The first 40 GWh is to come from a collaboration with Swedish lithium-ion battery developer Northvolt, with production starting in 2023.
As part of the deal, Volkswagen will raise its 20% stake in Northvolt and take over its stake in a planned battery cell venture in the German city of Salzgitter, which should come on line in 2025.
Northvolt is positioning itself to take a key role in Europe to compete with major Asian players such as CATL and LG Chem, and targets a 25% European market share by 2030.
Volkswagen has also identified factory projects in Spain, France or Portugal in 2026 and Poland, Slovakia or the Czech Republic by 2027. And a further two gigafactory plants will be set up in Europe by 2030, says the company.