BERLIN — Volkswagen Group plans to invest in mines to bring down the cost of battery cells, meet half of its own demand and sell to third-party customers, Thomas Schmall, the automaker’s technology chief, said.
VW wants its battery unit PowerCo to become a global battery supplier, not just produce for the group’s own needs, Schmall told Reuters in an interview.
PowerCo will start by delivering cells to Ford for the 1.2 million vehicles the U.S. automaker is building in Europe on VW’s electric MEB platform, he said.
Long-term, VW plans to build enough cells to meet half its global battery needs, with most production capacity located in Europe and North America, according to Schmall.
“The bottleneck for raw materials is mining capacity – that is why we need to invest in mines directly,” he said.
The automaker was partnering on supply deals with mining companies in Canada, where it will build its first North American battery plant.
Schmall declined to comment on further locations under consideration or where or when VW might invest directly in mines, saying the company would not disclose that information until the market was more settled.
“In future, there will be a select number of battery standards. Through our large volume and third-party sales business, we want to be one of those standards,” he said.