The company’s European factories will use this lithium in standardised battery cells
This material will begin to be used in the company’s vehicles in 2026
In America, Volkswagen invested in a company specialised in semi-solid coating for batteries
With the mass-electrification of the automotive industry, the demand for batteries and the materials they are made of is exploding, which can lead to negative impacts on climate change, the very problem electric vehicles set out to solve.
Indeed, battery production is very resource-intensive and the materials needed to create a battery pack large enough to power a car require many polluting mining and refinement processes that make the carbon footprint of an electric car much higher than the footprint of a comparable vehicle powered by combustion engines, for at least a few years.
In order to solve this, Volkswagen Group has entered a partnership with the Vulcan Group in order to secure a supply of CO2-free lithium to use in its EV batteries.
This lithium will be sourced from South-West Germany and Vulcan Group claims new technology has made it possible to extract and refine lithium in this area while creating very little pollution, which will be offset by funding geothermal energy in order to achieve a negative CO2 balance.
Since this lithium will be supplied to the company’s European battery factories, 6 of which will be built by 2030 to reach production capacity of 240 GWh, the pollution created by the transport of the materials will be kept to a minimum.
The automaker wants to incorporate the carbon-neutral lithium in its new design of standardised battery cells that will be modular, in order to create batteries of various sizes and power at a low cost.
In North America, Volkswagen invested in 24M, a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is developing a semi-solid dry-coating process for automotive batteries, which should reduce material use and cut many steps of the traditional production process.