The Volkswagen Group has announced a series of partnerships with Umicore, 24M Technologies, and Vulcan Energy Resources. The collaborations mutually aim to support the Group’s technology roadmap for the in-house development and production of EV battery cells.
As part of a joint venture, Umicore will supply Volkswagen AG’s European cell factories with cathode materials. At the same time, both firms will investigate the potential inclusion of recycling and refining into the scope of their joint venture at a later stage. The Group intends to gradually ramp up the production capacity of the joint venture, starting in 2025 with 20 GWh for its factory in Salzgitter, Germany. After this, both companies are targeting a product capacity of up to 160 GWh by the end of the decade – enough to provide batteries for 2.2 million BEVs.
The joint venture will also see the two firms share investments and install a framework to develop new technologies. Similarly, it aims to develop precursor and cathode material production capacities in Europe and responsibly source raw materials.
Through an investment in 24M Technologies, a spin-off company from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Group aims to develop new production technologies, and industrialize 24M’s semi-solid manufacturing process. The investment aims to optimize the costs involved in future battery production and make the overall process more efficient.
A new Volkswagen-owned subsidiary will develop and upscale production technologies for automotive applications based on 24M IPs. The Volkswagen Group expects the investment to reduce the production area by 40%, provide savings on investment and more efficient product recycling as well as a reduced CO2 footprint of battery production.
Volkswagen signed an agreement with Vulcan Energy Resources regarding the supply of CO2-neutral lithium from the Upper Rhine Valley in Germany. The binding contract focuses on providing lithium hydroxide over a period of five years, beginning in 2026. The product will contribute to securing Volkswagen demand for future in-house cell production both in Germany and Europe.