Volkswagen’s battery partner Gotion High-Tech also wants to produce the Group’s new unified battery cells in China, local media reports. The corresponding factory is to be built on an area of 333,000 square metres in the city of Hefei and designed for an annual production capacity of 20 GWh.
The plan is to complete the first phase with 10 GWh within 18 months. At least that is what Gasgoo writes, citing a message from Gotion’s WeChat account. Specifically, Gotion’s wholly-owned subsidiary Hefei Gotion High-Tech Power Energy, is said to have signed an agreement to this effect with the Hefei Xinzhan High-tech Industrial Development Zone. The agreement provides for the construction of a cell factory for the production of VW unit cells.
As reported, Volkswagen recently brought Gotion High-Tech on board as a partner for the planned battery factory in Salzgitter, where VW will build unit cells for the volume segment from 2025. Production in Hefei could therefore start even before Salzgitter. According to Gasgoo, the deal on Hefei was signed after the agreement on Salzgitter.
Battery cell production in Hefei would make perfect sense for Volkswagen: Hefei is also the headquarters of Volkswagen Anhui, the former joint venture with JAC. VW had acquired a majority stake in JAC Volkswagen in December 2020 and renamed the company Volkswagen Anhui. In addition, Hefei is located in Anhui province, and Volkswagen wants to establish an eMobility hub there. According to reports, the “Small BEV” is to be developed there for the group, which could come onto the market as the VW ID.2.
In addition, MEB cars are to be built in Anhui in 2023. The MEB factory in Hefei, with a capacity of up to 350,000 cars per year, is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 to start in 2023. VW’s own battery assembly has been announced. A nearby cell production facility would fit into the concept – but has not yet been confirmed by VW.
Volkswagen became the largest shareholder in Gotion High-Tech in May 2020 – for around one billion euros. Among other things, Gotion wants to use the money to build a factory for cathode materials with a high nickel content in Hefei. This factory, announced in July 2020, is to start test operations in 2023. In March 2021, Gotion also announced the construction of a battery recycling plant in Hefei.
VW had presented the unit cell in March 2021 as part of the ‘Power Day‘. It is a prismatic battery cell that, with its uniform format, is to be used in 80 per cent of all the group’s electric cars by 2030. To meet the different requirements of the vehicle segments, the unit cell can be equipped with different cell chemistries – such as LFP cells for small vehicles, NCM cathodes with a high nickel content for premium models and even solid batteries are to be possible.