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VW Weighs Slower Ramp Up of Battery Production on EV Downturn (Bloomberg)



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Bloomberg News

The article below is sourced from Bloomberg Wire Service. The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the Bloomberg Wire Service and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NADA.


Volkswagen AG may push out how quickly its upcoming battery factories in Europe reach full capacity as EV sales across the region cool.


The German carmaker still expects to start production next year, though it may take longer than previously planned to scale up the factories to full capacity, Chief Financial Officer Arno Antlitz said Thursday in an interview. 


Under its current €20 billion ($21.7 billion) plan, set out in 2022, PowerCo would supply cells for about 3 million EVs by 2030, creating a behemoth with 20,000 workers. More than 70% of the automaker’s sales in Europe — and more than 50% in North America — are supposed to be fully electric by then.


The potential move comes amid slower EV sales in Europe after countries including Germany and Sweden ceased or dialed back subsidies that had boosted orders. Manufacturers have been rethinking plans amid the downturn, with VW preparing more plug-in hybrids and Mercedes-Benz Group AG deciding to keep combustion cars in production well into the next decade.


VW has had a string of problems with its plans for electrification, botching several model releases and falling behind in China, where local brands now dominate. The manufacturer has also shelved efforts to seek outside investors for its PowerCo battery unit and scrapped plans for a €2 billion ($2.2 billion) EV factory in Germany.


PowerCo has started construction on two factory sites in Europe, where higher energy prices have clouded investment decisions for many industrial players. Output is due to start in Salzgitter, Germany next year and in 2026 in Spain, and early works are underway at a third site in Canada.


The efforts are also contending with stiff competition from Asian cell suppliers including China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., the world’s biggest EV cell maker, or Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. with existing plants and decades of battery-making experience. 


Antlitz, who spoke to Bloomberg News on the sidelines of a Reuters auto event in Munich, said VW remains fully committed to its PowerCo investment.

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