Volkswagen did not specifically say how much its plans to expand battery production will cost.
While the first two factories are already reflected in Volkswagen’s financial planning, the group is currently in “deep discussions” about how the subsequent plants fitted with financial targets, Schmall said.
He added if VW needed to increase its role in battery cell production then the group would be able to bear that cost.
The push will cost $29 billion and would make VW and its partners the world’s second-largest cell producer after China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., according to BloombergNEF.
Prismatic battery cells
VW unveiled plans to have a new unified prismatic battery cell from 2023, which will support cost cuts generated by the raised level of in-house cell production and could impact its current suppliers.
Electric vehicle makers, including Tesla, are using cylindrical battery cells, which resemble flashlight batteries and are relatively inexpensive and easy to manufacture.
Prismatic cells, which resemble a thin hardcover book, are housed in a rectangular metal case and are more expensive. Pouch cells, another alternative, are thinner and lighter, and resemble a flexible metal mailing envelope.
Northvolt said on Monday it had received an order from VW worth more than $14 billion over 10 years. The Swedish company, founded in 2016 by former Tesla executive Peter Carlsson, aims to take on major Asian players such as CATL and LG Chem. It targets a 25 percent market share in Europe by 2030.
Fast-charging networks to grow
VW said Monday that it will also invest 400 million euros ($477 million) by 2025 to build out much-needed charging infrastructure in Europe, after the region overtook China in EV sales last year. Fast-charging in Europe will grow fivefold to 18,000 stations, helped by cooperations with BP in the UK, Iberdrola and Spain and Enel in Italy as well as VW’s existing Ionity consortium.
In North America, VW is adding 3,500 stations for this year and 17,000 points in China by 2025. Cooperations on charging as well as strategic partnerships on batteries will help VW safeguard financial targets including a 6 percent capital investment ratio by 2025 and an adjusted annual net cash flow of more than 10 billion euros, the carmaker said.
A lack of infrastructure is still seen as a major hurdle to the mass adoption of battery-powered cars.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.