Volkswagen’s battery partner Gotion High-Tech is aiming to build two factories in the southern Chinese province of Jiangxi to produce a total of 100,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate per year. The first phase, with 20,000 tonnes of annual capacity at each of the two sites, is expected to be operational by the end of 2022.
The company announced the plants will be located in two separate industrial parks in Yichu city. Work will begin this quarter, according to the news agency. In a second expansion stage, Gotion High-Tech aims to increase capacity at each of the sites by 10,000 tonnes to 30,000 tonnes each, before reaching a combined total of said 100,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate per year in the final expansion stage.
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.
According to data from the Chinese Twitter user ‘Moneyball’, the company has a production capacity of 3.3 GWh in China. In the short term, it plans to expand to 13 GWh, and later to 28 GWh. By 2023, it should already be 80 GWh. According to a recent report by Gasgoo, Gotion High-Tech also wants to produce unit cells for Volkswagen. The corresponding factory is also to be built in Hefei on an area of 333,000 square metres and designed for an annual production capacity of 20 GWh.
As reported, Volkswagen recently brought Gotion High-Tech on board as a partner for the planned battery factory in Salzgitter. Unit cells for the volume segment are to be built there 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.
VW presented the unit cell at the ‘Power Day’ in March 2021. 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. In order 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.
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