This Week in Batteries – Week 17

Welcome to this week’s battery roundup. The most important news surrounding battery technology and production from Europe and beyond.

Tesla Alters Building Application for Giga Berlin to Include Battery Plant

The plans for Giga Berlin will now include the battery plant. Credit: Albrecht Köhler (Twitter: Gigafactory_4)

Tesla has recently announced to amend the permit application for Giga Berlin. The updated application will also include the construction and operation of the battery plant. Since it is still unclear how extensive this revision will be, the State of Brandenburg assumes that this amendment will require renewed public participation. This includes an announcement and display of the documents as well as the possibility to raise objections. It is uncertain in which way this will affect the timeline of the factory. In the quarterly report on Monday, Tesla postponed the start of production of the Model Y at Gigafactory 4 from July to “the end of 2021”.

The announcement has made the construction of the factory more likely. In recent reports, the production of battery cells in Brandenburg was doubted because public funding for the factory is not fixed. Earlier, the Minister of Economy had already promised the U.S. company funding under IPCEI (Important Projects of Common European Interest).

Also, check out this video where you can see the preparations for the foundation of the ‘warehouse’ which might become the battery plant.

Renault Announced Their Electrification Goals

The French company announced this week that their fleet will consist of 65% electric cars by 2025 and 90% by 2030. The new Corporate Social Responsibility strategy also includes goals towards the reduction of the companys ecological footprint:

“Renault Group is making concrete and wide-ranging contributions to carbon emissions reduction, with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040 and worldwide by 2050.”

JEAN-DOMINIQUE SENARD, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
LUCA DE MEO, CEO RENAULT GROUP

Whether solid-state batteries, which I mentioned in my post last week, play a role in this transformation is unclear. The company had previously announced to include this new cell technology in their cars by 2025.

VW “Way to Zero” Convention

On Thursday, Volkswagen held their first event on the company’s electric future after Power Day: the Way to Zero Convention. The company wants to be carbon neutral by 2050 and reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030.

Volkswagen-CEO Ralf Brandstätter at the convention. Credit: Volkswagen AG

This means that the plants outside Europe will also be supplied with green electricity in the future (except China). Volkswagen plans different renewable energy projects together with RWE to improve the CO2 balance of their EVs. The company strives for a more sustainable supply chain and a faster ramp up of the electrification strategy. By 2030 70% of the European fleet are supposed to be EVs. VW will have to speed up the development and production of their batteries. The cells will also be manufactured with 100% green energy and will be recycled after use. I will soon publish a blog post on the recycling strategies of different companies.

NIO on the Verge of Setting Foot in Europe

The Chinese automaker NIO will give details about their expansion to Europe in a press conference next week. While they had already declared plans to enter the European market in October, NIO just confirmed Norway as the first country for the expansion. The company takes a different approach at the design of EVs: when empty, the batteries can be exchanged in so called „Power Swap Station“. Check out this video to see this fascinating process. Follow me on Twitter (@BatteryBayEU) to see what will be announced during the press conference next week.

BMW Starts Battery Component Production

Last week, BMW had announced their plans for developing a solid-state battery by 2025. This week, they expanded their electrification strategy by two production plants for battery components.

In the future, battery modules will be manufactured at the Leipzig production site, while prefabricated cells for high-voltage batteries will be coated in Regensburg to increase their mechanical robustness and their thermal conductivity.

“We are continuing on this track with the launch of battery module production and further enhancing the plant’s future viability for electromobility. Plant Leipzig will play an important role in supplying the growing number of BMW Group electrified vehicles with battery components.”

Hans-Peter Kemser, Plant Director of BMW Group Plant Leipzig

However, as of today, the company does not plan on producing battery cells.

Daimler Presents Recycling Program for eCitaro Batteries

In a recent press release, Daimler showed the process for reusing the discarded batteries of their electrified buses. Due to capacity loss, the batteries of the eCitaro have to be replaced after about 5-6 years.
As part of the GUW+ project, they are now finding a second use in a rectifier substation as a stationary energy storage system for streetcars. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transportation and Digital Infrastructure.

2nd life application of eCitaro batteries. Credit: Daimler AG

The pilot storage system consists of around 20 battery systems with a total capacity of around 500 kWh.

Manz AG Secures Funding

This week, the German engineering company Manz AG received a funding notification for a grant of € 70 million. The funding is part of the IPCEI strategy, which aims to support Important Projects of Common European Interest. The company plans on developing machines and processes for an automated battery cell production.

“The official granting of EuBatIn funding is an immense opportunity for Europe, Germany and Manz AG. Business and politics are now in the unique position to build a competitive battery industry in Europe.”

Martin Drasch, CEO of Manz AG

This marks the second announcement of battery production in the region in two weeks. Last week, Porsche also announced the construction of a battery plant in the south of Germany.

This is not a complete list of news from this week but the press releases and articles I found the most interesting. Let me know if I missed something important.

You can also follow me on Twitter (@BatteryBayEU), where I post some of the news before they end up in my weekly roundup. I’m looking forward to learning about your involvement or interest in the industry and chatting about everything batteries.

Also, please feel free to use the comment section below to leave any feedback or suggestions!

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