Volkswagen has established a new European company to consolidate activities along the value chain for batteries – from processing raw materials and developing more efficient batteries to managing the European gigafactories. The company’s scope will include new business models based around reusing discarded car batteries and recycling the raw materials they contain.

Located at VW’s site in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony, Germany, the consolidation will bring together development, planning and production control under one roof, and will thus become the Volkswagen Group’s battery centre. Battery cell production in Salzgitter is set to start in 2025.

There are plans to build additional gigafactories at sites in Spain and Eastern Europe.

The company has also announced two new appointments related to its battery operations.

Soonho Ahn will take on a leading role in the development of battery cells. Following appointments at LG and Samsung, Ahn’s most recent post was as Global Head of Battery Development at Apple.

Kai Alexander Müller of Barclays Investment Bank, London, will also make the switch to Salzgitter, where he will contribute his financial experience in the capital market and in equity research.

Thomas Schmall, member of the Board of Management for technology at Volkswagen AG and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, says, “We want to offer our customers powerful, inexpensive and sustainable vehicle batteries, which means we need to be active at all stages of the battery value chain that are critical for success. We are now bundling our power in Salzgitter, with the aim of encouraging innovation and securing the support of the best partners for our new company going forward. We already have a strong battery team in Salzgitter made up of 500 employees from 24 countries – and we are continuing to strengthen this team at leadership level.”