Electromobility: The minister and the battery cell
About Peter Altmaier you tell strange things. The energy minister RWE promised the economy minister a lot of money for a battery cell factory, if RWE in return faster than previously planned out of brown coal mining and, of course, the Hambach forest leaves undamaged, it says in the environment of the coal commission of the Federal Government. The committee should draft an exit timetable by mid-December, taking into account the special situation of Lusatia. There, in turn, Altmaier wants to provide a billion euros in government start-up funding for a cell production. Alone: who operates the plant?
The battery is the most valuable part in the e-car
The German government has been dealing with battery cells for years. In order to keep the value chain in the electromobile era closed in the German auto industry, the policy wants a cell production in this country. The battery makes up a good third of the added value in the electric car, and the battery cell is at the heart of the battery. More than half a billion euros have been spent on battery research over the past twelve years, and just now the Ministry of Research (BMBF) has provided 16 million euros for a new cluster of solid-state batteries. This technology, which could replace the currently prevalent lithium-ion battery in the second half of the next decade, uses a solid rather than a liquid electrolyte. “As a result, significantly higher ranges of more than 500 km and faster charging in the minute range can be achieved in electromobility with a simultaneous increase in safety,” says BMBF.
Also a research factory is planned
That’s the future. Just like the research factory, for which the federal government wants to spend up to 600 million euros in the next few years. With about 200 people, new battery cell formats will be developed and produced in the highly automated factory. Half of a dozen federal states are already applying for the research facility.
So a lot is happening on the political and institutional side. What is still missing is an industrial cell production. The automakers shy away from the billion-dollar investment and point to the suppliers. Bosch, the world’s largest supplier to the automotive industry, left cell research a few months ago. The Stuttgart wanted the 20 billion euros, which would be required according to Bosch data to compete with the Asian cell manufacturers at least at eye level, not invest. The number two, Continental from Hanover, wants to decide at the latest by the middle of the year 2019, what and how and with whom one enters the cell production. Obviously would be the Wolfsburg neighbor VW. Maybe even in Lusatia . An industrial cluster could emerge in the eastern region, because BASF is concentrating cell chemistry at the Schwarzheide site, and VW is converting the Zwickau plant into the production site for the electrical ID series. VW alone wants to build so many electric cars in 2025 that it would need the capacity of four large cell factories. In the US, VW has invested a three-digit million amount in the company Quantum Scape, which is researching the solid-state battery.