VOLKSWAGEN GROUP AND CANADA AIM TO ADVANCE SUSTAINABLE BATTERY SUPPLY CHAIN IN NORTH AMERICA
>> Volkswagen signs agreement with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government on battery value creation and raw material security
>> Volkswagen Group’s battery company PowerCo pushes ramp-up of its global battery business, further proof of Volkswagen’s ambitious growth strategy in North America
Volkswagen AG and the Government of Canada aim to promote e-mobility in the country and to explore opportunities across Canada’s automotive and battery supply chain. This was agreed in a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MoU) signed today in Toronto by Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, in the presence of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Both parties will investigate opportunities for Canada to contribute to Volkswagen’s global and regional battery supply chains. PowerCo, the newly founded battery company of the Group, has a central role in these efforts and will drive forward the planned cooperation in the fields of battery value creation, raw materials supply chains and cathode material production in the North American region.
PowerCo SE is responsible for all global Group activities along the battery value chain, securing battery cell supply for Volkswagen's e-mobility push. The rapidly growing global battery cell business is a key pillar of Volkswagen’s NEW AUTO strategy, which aims to make Volkswagen the leading provider of sustainable and software-driven mobility. The plan is to quickly build up highly standardized cell production capacities totaling 240 gigawatt hours per year in Europe alone. In addition, there are plans to establish a dedicated gigafactory in North America. Possible production sites are currently being examined.
Joint statement with respect to sustainable battery manufacturing and reliable raw material supply
For the development of sustainable battery production, both parties intend to boost cooperation based on recognized ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) criteria between PowerCo and the Canadian mining sector, which is seen as a world leader in terms of responsibility and transparency. For this purpose PowerCo is planning to establish a new, dedicated liaison office in Canada. A key focus of cooperation is the supply of critical raw materials such as lithium, nickel and cobalt.
Both parties see significant prospects for Volkswagen and PowerCo to ramp up cathode material production together with partners and to offer Canadian suppliers an opportunity to act as raw material suppliers, refiners and processors.
With its vast raw material resources, good infrastructure and highly developed automotive industry with considerable production expertise and highly qualified workforce, Canada sees itself outstandingly well-positioned for joint projects.
Schmall commented: “The Government of Canada is a forward-thinking, effective enabler of businesses creating future-proof, well-paying jobs for Canadians, particularly in the green economy. This is one reason why Volkswagen and PowerCo are excited to work with such an approachable partner offering promising cooperation and engagement at all levels of government.”
Next Step of Growth Strategy for North America
The Volkswagen Group brands plan to offer the most comprehensive electric product portfolio in North America with more than 25 battery-electric models by the end of the decade; at the same time, strong regional capabilities for EV research and development, vehicle assembly, component production and supply relationships are being expanded across the North American continent.
“We’re committed to bringing electric mobility to consumers and communities in North America. Today’s agreement between the Volkswagen Group and the Government of Canada will enable us to work closely with local suppliers and expand our capabilities,” said Pablo Di Si, incoming President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “We continue to invest in electrification with plans to launch more than 25 battery-electric vehicles planned by 2030. A broad-based supply of raw materials from across the region will be key to support our ambitious growth plans.”
MEET THE V.MO – VOLKSWAGEN GROUP CHINA UNVEILS STATE-OF-THE-ART PASSENGER DRONE PROTOTYPE
Volkswagen Group China today unveiled its first electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) passenger drone prototype, as part of its strategy to explore and break new ground in fully electric and sustainable individual mobility concepts. In 2020, Volkswagen Group China launched a Vertical Mobility project to explore the next generation of mobility solutions, including the urban air mobility market and the extension of urban traffic into airspace. After intensive research, conceptual work, and development, the project team has now developed its first validation model – the V.MO. This initial prototype has also been nicknamed the ‘Flying Tiger’ due to its distinctive black and gold livery, which was painted to commemorate its launch in the Year of the Tiger.
The prototype concept is based on existing autonomous driving solutions and battery technology for emission-free mobility. With a luxury x-wing configuration of 11.2m in length and a span width of 10.6m, the model features eight rotors for vertical lift and two propellers for horizontal flight. The Group will conduct several flight tests later this year to optimize the concept and an improved prototype will undergo further advanced test flights by late summer 2023. In its final future iteration, the fully electric and automated eVTOL could eventually carry four passengers plus luggage over a distance of up to 200km.
Dr. Stephan Wöllenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China, said: “Through this pilot project, we are bringing Volkswagen’s long tradition of precision engineering, design, and innovation to the next level, by developing a premium product that will serve the vertical mobility needs of our future tech savvy Chinese customers. This is a pioneering project which our young team of Chinese experts started from scratch – they are working with new design concepts and materials while developing new safety standards, disrupting and innovating every step of the way. The launch of this stunning validation model – the V.MO – is the first of many remarkable milestones on our exciting journey towards urban air travel, and a perfect example of our ‘From China, For China’ mission. Our long-term aim is to industrialize this concept and, like a ‘Flying Tiger’, break new ground in this emerging and fast-evolving new mobility market.”
Volkswagen Group China is rapidly expanding local R&D and software expertise to respond faster to what customers want and significantly accelerate the pace of innovation. The Vertical Mobility project requires interdisciplinary and innovative thinking in a new field, and the Group formed a team of young, local experts to drive it forward. They have been supported by Chinese partners including Hunan Sunward Technology, a subsidiary of Hunan-based manufacturing group Sunward. The company specializes in aviation product development, sales and services and is a market leader in the light sport aircraft industry.
Urban air mobility is a fast-emerging market which aims to utilize air space for short- and medium-distance connections, especially above and between large cities. In China, it is set to play a significant role in the future of urban and intercity transportation in its congested megacities. In the first phase of its commercial use, V.MO is likely to be pitched as a premium product for high-net worth tech savvy Chinese customers, for example for VIP air shuttle services. eVTOL air vehicles will be able to transport passengers more quickly and efficiently than current conventional means of terrestrial transport and with greater flexibility. As the Vertical Mobility project develops, Volkswagen Group China will work with the relevant Chinese authorities to achieve certification.
WALL BOXES FROM ELLI CAN NOW ALSO BE ORDERED IN ITALY, SWEDEN AND SPAIN
The Volkswagen subsidiary Elli, which has Group-wide responsibility for all activities relating to the topic of charging and energy, is expanding its offer. The three brand-neutral wall box models are now also available in Italy, Sweden and Spain, following on from Germany. All chargers allow charging at home with a maximum charging capacity of 11 kW and are therefore up to eight times faster than a household socket. Three flexible and transparent charging tariffs are offered. The “Drive Highway” tariff for long-distance drivers has already been hailed in Germany as “the cheapest charging tariff from an independent provider” by the Europe-wide market analysis “E-Mobility Excellence Comparison 2022”.
The three wall box models from Elli are called “Standard”, “Connect” and “Pro”. They are compatible with current and future electric vehicles of the Volkswagen brands as well as all cars from other manufacturers with a Type-2 connector. Other common features include a charging capacity of up to 11 kW and an integrated 4.5 or 7.5 metre long charging cable. The Connect and Pro charger models connect to the Internet via WiFi – optionally also via LTE. This means that users can also control the wall box when on the move. What’s more, these two models can also be activated via app or charging card for particular users. In the case of the Pro charger, the app also shows all charging processes in an overview and allows a corresponding PDF file to be exported
Customers in Germany can conveniently order the Elli wall charging stations on the internet: Elli Wallbox online bestellen | Elli Shop | Elli – Empowering electric life. The wall boxes are now also offered in Italy, Sweden and Spain, which is a logical step for Simon Löffler, CCO of Elli: "Elli sees itself as an
independent full-service provider of charging and energy solutions that customers of all brands can use. We are therefore expanding the distribution of our wall box offer and taking this service to other European countries."
Customers who need assistance to install the wall box can request this on an individual basis from Elli. For example, if additional modifications (such as to masonry or fuse boxes) or cables are necessary, Elli can provide a portfolio of installation partners designated for this purpose.
Next to Elli wall boxes customers can also choose between one of the three charging tariffs from Elli whenever they don’t charge at home but on the road. The transparent tariff model provides affordable access to more than 330,000 charging points throughout Europe, including 10,000 fast chargers at over 3,000 locations. Cost transparency is assured thanks to fixed prices per kilowatt hour, independently of the respective charging station operator. The price structure is based on user charging habits: “Drive Free”, “Drive City” and “Drive Highway” are geared towards drivers who need to charge their vehicles rarely, frequently or quickly. Changing to a higher tariff is possible at any time. The “Drive Highway” tariff has already been hailed as the “cheapest charging tariff from an independent provider in 2022”. Based on the model calculation of the Europe-wide market analysis “E-Mobility Excellence Comparison 2022”, it offers the best price-performance ratio.