Umicore and Volkswagen AG plan to establish a Joint Venture to build up precursor and cathode material production capacities in Europe to supply Volkswagen AG’s European battery cell production, making a considerable contribution to the region’s transition towards cleaner mobility.
This partnership will be the first of its kind in the European automotive market. It will help achieve the ambitions of the European Green Deal, including the establishment of a sustainable battery supply chain, and is a strong signal for the ongoing roll-out of innovative battery cell technologies and capabilities in the region.
The intention is to gradually ramp up the JV’s precursor and cathode material production capacity. This would start in 2025 with an initial annual production of 20 GWh for Volkswagen AG’s plant in Salzgitter, Germany, and should grow to an annual production capacity of up to 160 GWh by the end of the decade. This compares to an annual production capacity capable of powering about 2.2 million full electric vehicles (EVs).
At the same time, next to the intended JV, Umicore will continue to steadfastly develop its technological and production capabilities to serve other customers and regions.
“As a leader in clean mobility materials, we are committed to support our automotive and battery-cell customers with their electrification strategies. We are very pleased to partner with Volkswagen in this unique joint venture and will bring in our long-standing and proven expertise in battery materials, as well as our strong commitment and solutions to today’s sustainability challenges,” said Mathias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore. “The complementarity of our extensive technology, innovation and industrial knowhow, and shared sustainability convictions will provide a strong framework for the JV and will give us a considerable first-mover advantage.”
Thomas Schmall, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group for Technology and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components: “Volkswagen is implementing its battery strategy very consistently and at a high pace. The Volkswagen unified cell must be at the forefront of performance, costs and sustainability right from the start. Teaming up with Umicore enables us to establish a state-of-the-art supply chain in Europe as we share common values such as responsible sourcing of raw materials, as well as closed-loop thinking.”
The partnership’s significant scale will provide secure and cost-competitive supplies of innovative, sustainably sourced and tailored high-performance cathode materials for Volkswagen AG’s ambitious unified cell strategy. It provides Umicore secured access to an important part of the European demand for EV cathode materials, which will unlock significant economies of scale and represents a major leap forward in the further roll-out of its strategy to be a global leader in clean mobility materials.
In the context of the JV, Umicore and Volkswagen AG will furthermore collaborate on the sustainable and responsible sourcing of raw materials, which is a strong area of expertise of Umicore. Both parties aim to include at a later stage, elements of refining and battery recycling into the scope of the JV.