Volkswagen establishes ultra-modern lab for battery R&D

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The Volkswagen Group’s Components brand has recently established one of the most modern laboratories for battery cell research and development. The newly opened facility is located in a 2,500-sqm lot at the Volkswagen plant in Salzgitter, Germany.

Here, the Volkswagen Group will further expand its expertise in battery technology and take the next step towards developing and producing its own battery cells for electric vehicles.

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“With our new, state-of-the-art laboratories, we are further expanding our development, process, and production expertise for the battery cell — the heart of the battery-electric vehicle. Volkswagen's Salzgitter site demonstrates how the transformation of the German automotive industry from conventional drive systems to e-mobility can succeed. We are attracting cutting-edge researchers and, as a pioneer in the industry, create the jobs of tomorrow,” said Volkswagen Group Components Chairman of the Board of Management and Volkswagen AG Group Board Member, Thomas Schmall.

Schmall added, “with the opening of the laboratories, we have reached the next strategic milestone. Now we are pushing ahead with preparations for our own cell production with all our strength.”

Approximately 500 people are working at the Center of Excellence (CoE) Battery Cell in Salzgitter, 160 of whom are involved in battery development. By the end of 2022, the CoE is expected to grow and will potentially require more than 1,000 employees including 250 experts for research, analysis, and development of suitable cell materials and formats.

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“If there is one place in particular where you can currently observe what is meant by ‘transformation of the automotive industry,’ it is Salzgitter. For decades, the Volkswagen plant in Salzgitter has supplied millions of vehicles with engines. With increasing electrification, there is now a consistent step-by-step conversion to future-proof and forward-looking battery cell production at the site. The heart of the automotive industry will beat electrically in the future. And it beats in Lower Saxony,” commented the German state of Lower Saxony’s Minister-President Stephan Weil.

The opening of the Salzgitter facility is part of Volkswagen Group’s Battery and Charging Technology Roadmap. The respective roadmap was introduced in March 2021, and the future technologies of battery and charging again came into focus as key areas of the Group's New Auto strategy in July.

The Volkswagen Group looks to start rolling out its new unified cell in 2025. The new unified cell is expected to unlock synergies and reduce battery costs by up to 50 percent.

By 2030, the Volkswagen Group plans to operate six cell factories in Europe.

The Volkswagen Group’s newly opened Salzgitter battery lab will handle material testing, release testing, quality assurance, and series monitoring of cells for electric car batteries.

Here, extensive cell testing programs with up to 200 different analytical methods will be tested. In addition, cutting-edge technologies will be used to put the cells through their paces.

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The ultra-modern Salzgitter site houses one of the world's few scanning electron microscopes for detecting lithium. Other equipment found in the facility includes a highly automated test field to test cells for performance and signs of aging during rapid charging and discharging.

“In the future, innovations for the cells of today and tomorrow will be created in Salzgitter. Its equipment makes the new laboratories one of the most modern facilities for cell research in Europe. One of the most important future technologies for the Volkswagen Group is being driven forward here. Everything that is done at the Center of Excellence Battery Cell serves to provide future customers of all Group brands with e-vehicles with the greatest possible range, charging performance, sustainability, and safety,” said Volkswagen Group Components’ Head of the Battery Cell and Battery System Business Unit, Frank Blome.

Photos from Volkswagen

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