This Week in Batteries – Week 37

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

Tesla Secures Funding for German Gigafactory

Tesla will receive a grant commitment of € 120 million from the state of Brandenburg. The company can thus expect to receive a total of € 1.1 billion in funding, as the German daily Tagesspiegel recently reported. Now it is up to the Federal Ministry of Economics to approve this sum. The funding is within the framework of IPCEI, a fund for Important Projects of Common European Interest. It supports many battery projects, recently Morrow Batteries.

At Giga 4, production of the Model Y was originally scheduled to begin in early July, but Tesla is now targeting the end of the year. The company is currently building without a complete permit, the online consultation for the extended building application starts next week.

VW Opens New Battery Research Labs

This week, VW’s main battery site in Salzgitter opened its new laboratories for the research and development of battery cells. Since 2019, there has already been a competence center there where Volkswagen’s battery know-how is bundled and further developed. Now, 250 experts will conduct research in the areas of cell development, analytics, and testing in a total of four laboratories.

Frank Blome and Thomas Schmall opening the new battery labs. Credit: VW Group

From 2025, the unified cell is to be manufactured at the Salzgitter site. In addition, a decision will be made by the end of the year as to whether solid-state batteries, which are also part of Volkswagen’s electrification strategy, will also be produced there in cooperation with QuantumScape. If you are interested in these and other European automakers’ strategies, check out my article from a while ago.

“With the opening of the laboratories, we have reached the next strategic milestone. Now we are pushing ahead with preparations for our own cell production with all our strength”

Thomas Schmall, CEO, VW Group Components

BASF Enters Collaboration with CATL

The German chemical company BASF will cooperate with the Chinese battery manufacturer CATL, which is currently setting up a cell production facility in Erfurt, Germany. In addition to cathode materials, the cooperation also includes battery recycling. Thus, the companies want to contribute to the more sustainable production of batteries and reduce the environmental footprint of battery cells manufactured in Europe.

BASF plans to produce cathode active material in Schwarzheide as early as 2022. Recently, cooperation with Porsche’s Cellforce has been established.

“Pairing BASF’s strong position as a leading supplier for cathode active materials with CATL’s expertise in lithium-ion batteries will speed up innovation and the formation of a sustainable battery value chain worldwide.”

Dr. Markus Kamieth, Member of BASF’s Board of Executive Directors

Valmet Automotive Opens New Finnish Battery Plant

Valmet Automotive recently celebrated the opening of its new battery factory in Uusikaupunki, Finland. Production is scheduled to start at the end of the year. At the site, the company has previously only assembled vehicles. With the addition of the battery plant, the Finnish company wants to become a Tier-1 system supplier for battery systems and modules.

The Valmet Automotive site in Uusikaupunki. Credit: Valmet Automotive

This is the Finnish company’s second battery factory after the Salo site. A third battery plant will be opened in Kirchardt, Germany in 2022.

This is not a complete list of news from the last two weeks but the press releases and articles I found the most interesting. Let me know if I missed anything important. I am working on another detailed article at the moment but I am always interested in ideas for further posts, so let me know what you want to read about.

On a personal note: Since there is not a lot of news at the moment and I am also in the final stretches of my master thesis, I will only be posting these updates every other week for the next couple of weeks.

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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