Porsche takes over Cellforce and plans 20 GWh production

Porsche looks likely to produce high-performance battery cells on a much larger scale than previously planned. The German carmaker will no longer do so with its partner Customcells but on its own. The Cellforce Group, the battery joint venture between Porsche and Customcells, is said to have been completely taken over by Porsche in May.

The German business magazine Manager Magazin reported the move with reference to insiders. An official confirmation from both sides is still pending. Meanwhile, the business magazine has revealed that the battery development and production facility in the German economic region of Reutlingen-Nord/Kirchentellinsfurt, which was originally planned in the 100-megawatt range, will now be designed for an annual capacity of 20-gigawatt hours. So far, there was only talk of an expansion to a capacity of 1 GWh.

According to this latest report, Porsche wants to supply 180,000 to 200,000 of its own electric cars per year with performance cells with the massive expansion of production and possibly also supply competitors. Manager Magazine writes that Porsche will probably have to invest more than one billion euros in the plant. Series production in the Reutlingen-Kirchentellinsfurt area should start in spring 2024, initially with a small volume. Large-scale production could then start in two or three years.

The joint venture between Porsche and cell specialist Customcells from Itzehoe dates back to 2021. At that time, P3 also played a role in the foundation. Porsche also took a stake in Customcells at the time. The company’s demise is said to be related to the multiplication of production capacity: “The company with headquarters in Itzehoe has a turnover in the double-digit millions, and the valuation is said to have approached half a billion euros in the last financing round. Not enough, at any rate, to co-finance the plant near Tübingen in accordance with the joint venture share of 27 per cent,” Manager Magazin states. Porsche took over complete ownership of Cellforce in May – no information has been thus far revealed about the financial scope of the deal.

If the details revealed by Manager Magazine prove to be correct, Porsche would be the first automotive OEM to build performance cells for electric sports cars on a large scale. It is possible that they could be used in a possible production version of the recently presented Mission X hypercar concept. So far, Porsche has been sourcing its cells from LG Energy Solution.

The latest news on the factory’s progress near Tübingen was a strategic partnership with Siemens in mid-May. Cellforce and the German technology group announced their intention to join forces along the entire battery development and manufacturing process. For factory equipment, the joint venture has previously entered into several other partnerships. A system for coating electrodes for high-performance battery cells was ordered from Dürr, and the mechanical engineering company Trumpf is contributing its high-precision laser technology as part of a strategic cooperation.

What about Customcells? Only yesterday, we received the news that the cell specialist has agreed on a “project-based partnership” with the Californian battery developer OneD Battery Sciences. The aim is the joint development and industrialisation of BEV battery cells for an unnamed automotive OEM. According to information from “Manager Magazin”, Customcells is now entering the gigawatt-hour range with this project. The customer is said to be General Motors.

reporting by Cora Werwitzke
manager-magazin.de (in German)


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