German battery group Varta is cooperating with the Austrian two-wheeler manufacturer KTM in the field of low-voltage battery platforms for electric two-wheelers from 250 watts to 20 kW peak power. The duo aims to “set accents in the development of two-wheeled electric vehicles.”
The two companies intend to cooperate in the areas of research, development and production, marketing and sales, as well as in the return, recycling and secondary use of batteries. The core of the cooperation is the development of a platform battery for light electric vehicles in the field of 48-volt technology with peak outputs of up to around 20 kW. The aim is to “send a strong signal in and from Europe in the electric two-wheeler sector,” the partners say.
Austria’s KTM is currently undergoing a restructuring process. Already in autumn 2019, the parent company KTM Industries turned into Pierer Mobility AG. KTM, Husqvarna and Gasgas will be managed as brands. In addition to motorcycles with combustion engines or electric drive, the product portfolio also includes e-bikes. India’s second-largest motorcycle manufacturer, Bajaj has been on board for some time as a strategic partner. In addition, Pierer Mobility AG is now fully acquiring electronics specialist Abatec. The company was acquired in 2018 in a difficult initial situation together with Montana Tech Components AG, it says. Now Abatec is to become a 100 per cent Pierer subsidiary.
Interestingly, Montana Tech Components AG is supported by the three corporate groups Varta AG, Aluflexpack AG and Montana Aerospace. In this respect, there was already a relationship between Varta and Pierer. Varta AG already produces and markets a comprehensive battery portfolio ranging from micro-batteries, household batteries, energy storage systems to customer-specific battery solutions.
“With VARTA Innovation in Graz, we are strongly positioned for VARTA AG’s materials research and development in Austria. The site is being massively expanded to drive the development of large battery cell formats for electromobility,” says Michael Tojner, CEO of the Montana Tech Components AG group of companies and majority owner of Varta AG. With this statement, Tojner is likely to also be referring to Varta’s recently announced plans to become involved in the market for electric vehicle battery cells in the future.
The new large-format battery cell 21700 is at the centre of Varta’s plans. The paper refers to “circles close to the group”. The company is currently building a pilot line for the 21700 cells at its headquarters in Ellwangen, Germany. According to media reports, these will initially be used primarily in high-performance electric cars – “for example, as a short-term accelerator or as part of drive concepts in which the battery is permanently recharged by a motor while driving,” it says. To this end, Varta is currently in talks with several car manufacturers.