The German battery group Varta has received its first order for its new high-performance round cell V4Drive in 21700 format presented at the beginning of April. The name of the customer from the automotive sector has not been released. Varta also announced that it will develop larger lithium-ion round cells in the future.
Varta made the announcement during the presentation of its business figures for the first quarter. Compared to Q1 2020, sales rose by 2.9 per cent to 204.3 million euros, while adjusted EBITDA increased by 15.9 per cent to 59.9 million euros.
To clarify the focus on lithium-ion batteries, the Microbatteries & Solutions division will be renamed Lithium-Ion Solutions & Microbatteries. The properties of our new lithium-ion round cells are meeting with very strong customer interest,” says Varta CEO Herbert Schein. “This allows us to open up new and larger business areas. In the meantime, we have also been able to win our first customer in the automotive sector for our V4Drive.”
As reported at the presentation, the V4Drive is not intended to be used as the sole traction battery in an electric car, but as a booster in premium and sports vehicles or as a storage unit for recuperation energy in hybrid vehicles. The company sees further applications in electrified trucks with an optimised range extender or with an optimised fuel cell. The outstanding feature of the battery cell is that it can be fully charged in 6 minutes.
The planned development of “other, larger lithium-ion round cells” has only been mentioned briefly in Varta’s quarterly figures report, whereby CEO Schein and CFO Armin Hessenberger do not go into further detail in their statements. Hessenberger only emphasises that the increased profitability and low debt enable the company to “continue to invest massively in the lithium-ion business”.
Varta received funding from the German federal government and the states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg as part of the first battery IPCEI 2020. With the total of 300 million euros, Varta wants to work on two research projects around lithium-ion cells, i.e. also the fast-charging 21700 cell.
The construction of the pilot line for the new lithium-ion round cells in the 21700 format at the Ellwangen site is going according to plan, according to Varta. Pilot production should start at the end of the year.
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