The VW Group and Sweden’s Gigafactory mastermind Northvolt want to advance battery cell production in Europe together and are forming a consortium called the European Battery Union (EBU). It includes partners from research and industry from seven EU member states.
This consortium is to start work at the beginning of 2020. According to VW, the European Battery Union’s activities will concentrate on the entire battery value chain – from raw materials to cell technology and recycling. The primary goal is to build up comprehensive expertise in cell production.
Except for Northvolt, Volkswagen has not named its partner companies. However, it did announce that “all partners involved will increase their investments (…) in the course of the additional planned research activities and the knowledge gained will later be exchanged between all participants on a transnational basis”.
Northvolt and Volkswagen are already among those applicants who have submitted applications to the Federal Government for funding to set up battery cell production and can, therefore, be assumed to be counted as one of the consortia among the submitted proposals. “The subsidies offered by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy could make it possible to show the expenses in financial terms,” forecasts an accompanying press release from Volkswagen.
Last November, Federal German Minister for Economic Affairs, Peter Altmaier, announced the prospect of one billion euros for the construction of a battery cell production facility, followed last month by the corresponding call for funding. In addition to Northvolt and Volkswagen, BASF, BMW and Varta, among others, have applied. According to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, the total number of interested companies from the entire value chain is more than 30. The actual announcement of the winning consortia is likely to take some time: The ministry is currently evaluating all proposals, which should take a few weeks.