PowerCo, the Volkswagen Group’s new battery company, and Umicore, the Belgian materials technology group, have announced the formation of a joint venture for cathode and prematerial production in Europe. From 2025, the joint venture will supply PowerCo’s European battery cell factories with key materials. By the end of the decade, the partners want to produce cathode and prematerial for 160 gigawatt hours of cell capacity per year. This corresponds to an annual production capacity sufficient for around 2.2 million fully electric vehicles. Cathode material is crucial for the transformation to electromobility as the central technological lever for battery performance and the most significant cost factor.
The long-term partnership is focused on the production of precursor and cathode materials in Europe, which are of key strategic importance for battery value creation. Under additional agreements, Umicore and PowerCo will also collaborate on the sustainable and responsible sourcing of raw materials – an area in which Umicore is an industry leader. Against this background, Umicore will also provide refining services to PowerCo. Based on Umicore’s technology and expertise, both partners aim to bring refining and recycling activities into the joint venture at a later stage.
The joint venture is expected to start production in 2025, initially supplying the PowerCo cell factory in Salzgitter, with the aim of reaching a capacity of 40 gigawatt hours per year in 2026. Both joint venture partners intend to increase the annual production capacity to 160 gigawatt hours by the end of the decade, depending on market and demand developments. The search for a suitable location is still ongoing. www.volkswagen-newsroom.com