Nov 29, 2022 - 02:39 pm

Customcells is on the search for two new battery plant locations

The German manufacturer Customcells is planning at least two more battery cell factories in Germany, as CEO Dirk Abendroth announced in an interview – one for the automotive sector and one for the aviation sector with electric taxis, drones and aeroplanes.

This is according to an article in the German publication Automobilwoche. The two factories expand the company’s production capacities, which have so far been limited to the Itzehoe and Tübingen sites. In addition, a battery production plant is already under construction in Reutlingen-Nord/Kirchentellinsfurt under the direction of the battery joint venture Cellforce Group with Porsche. The foundation stone for the latter plant was laid in October. At the same time, Cellforce announced plans to increase production capacity there tenfold to over 1 GWh.

The two further factories now envisaged by Abendroth are to take on larger dimensions: According to the interview, Custozuimcells is planning “several tens of gigawatt hours” in the automotive sector and “about 3.5 gigawatt-hours” at the aviation site – including the option of successive expansion. According to Abendroth, it would “make sense to start with ten gigawatt-hours at the automotive site, which could later be expanded to 20, 30 or even 40 gigawatt hours”.

According to the manager, the search for a location in Germany is already underway. An additional Customcells production site is to be built in the USA. “We want to become a global player in premium battery cells. And for that we also need a presence in the US to serve both markets, Europe and America. We are currently exploring this in the USA. But it is certain that we need our own location there. If we want to serve the customers there, we have to produce there as well,” Abendroth told Automobilwoche. China is “not on Customcell’s roadmap at the moment”.

Customcell’s interest in the aviation battery market has been apparent for some time. For example, it has been working with engineering company Manz to build up production capacities for lithium-ion battery cells for customers in the aviation sector. There is also an order from the German e-air taxi start-up Lilium. According to Abendroth, this is a market that promises much smaller unit numbers but significantly higher margins than the automotive sector.

The Customcells-Porsche joint venture Cellforce is known to focus primarily on high-performance lithium-ion pouch cells for special automotive applications. These will initially be produced exclusively for Porsche. “Whether other customers will be served as the company scales up further is still open,” Abendroth comments on this topic.

As for the further strategy, the manager points out two principal options in the interview: the path into mass business with the establishment of several large 40-gigawatt-hour factories or a licensing business for the dissemination of Customcell’s know-how. According to Abendroth, both are possible. In principle, his company will try to “penetrate the market from the special applications now” and “penetrate the portfolio from the top with real high-performance cells”.

The background is that Customcells has been producing cells for special applications for ten years – with a strong focus on research and development, innovation and processes so far. Volume production has not been the focus of the business strategy so far. At the Itzehoe site, Customcells is currently primarily developing prototypes of application-specific battery cells. The actual series production will then take place at the Tübingen site. According to the company, “one of the most modern cell production lines in Europe” will go into operation there in spring 2021.


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29.11.2022 14:20