Look out, German Gigafactory. There's a new automaker in town.
While Tesla continues to fumble with red tape and environmental activists in getting its German factory up and running, Porsche has said this week it is going to be developing and producing battery cells for its EV cars as part of a new joint venture with a German lithium-ion specialist.
Porsche is going to be investing "a high double-digit million euro sum" in Custom Cells GmbH, according to Bloomberg. As a result, it will control a 83.75% stake in the venture, which is expected to start production in 2024. The German state will contribute about $71 million in funding, the report says.
Porsche Chief Executive Officer Oliver Blume said this week: “The battery cell is the combustion chamber of the future.”
The move comes as part of a broader move for the auto industry, which is looking to keep pace with Tesla and attract customers with better range efficiency. For sports cars like Porsches, batteries "need to cope with high temperatures and be capable of fast-charging and effective energy recuperation," according to Bloomberg.
The new Porsche cells will allow charging in less than 15 minutes. Porsche's Taycan currently takes about 22.5 minutes to charge a battery to 80% from 5%. Porsche is using silicon as anode material for higher density and more compact batteries. BASF will also work as a development partner for the deal.
The factory is slated to wind up outside Stuttgart and will have an annual capacity of at least 100 megawatt hours, which is enough to make cells for about 1,000 cars per year.
The workforce is starting at 13 and will expand to as many as 80 by 2025. The company says that the new cells "will first be used in a Porsche race car or a high-performance version of one of its existing models", according to Porsche development chief Michael Steiner.
Blume even predicts that the cells could eventually wind up being used by other VW Auto Group brands like Audi and Lamborghini.