Amid €10bn battery unit report, Volkswagen vies for e-car top spot

Volkswagen wants to become market leader in electronic mobility by 2018, but declines to comment on reports that it is considering building a giant battery factory in Germany that would cost up to €10bn ($11.14bn) and have a massive impact on the solar storage market.

Similar to the construction by Californian e-car maker Tesla of a 1GW cell factory in the US, a large battery factory by Volkswagen could push down the price of batteries for renewable-energy plants at a time the solar storage market is about to take off.

Volkswagen could build the factory in Salzgitter, northern Germany, in order to become independent from Asian battery producers, German news agency dpa-AFX says. The German carmaker needs to improve its environmental credentials in the wake of the scandal involving manipulated software measuring CO2 emissions in its cars.

“Those are speculations we don’t comment [on],” Volkswagen tells Recharge, but adding that it has placed e-mobility at the centre of the corporation.

“Volkswagen has set itself the ambitious goal to become market leader in e-mobility by 2018. Also, by 2020, we are bringing 20 further electronic vehicles on the market.”

Earlier this year, Volkswagen’s upscale German rival Daimler said it will invest €500m in a second factory to produce lithium-ion batteries for e-vehicles that will also cater to stationary energy storage products.

Germany’s electronic storage market for renewable power is growing rapidly, but despite recent reductions, the price of batteries is still too high to make it a mass market.

Almost half of the country’s small PV plants installed last year came with a storage system, a government-funded report found.