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Porsche invests in battery development and in-house production near Weissach

Porsche has announced that it has partnered with Customcells to manufacture batteries at its Weissach Development Center. The joint venture will result in a company called Cellforce Group GmbH and is Porsche’s continued push for leadership in electrification. The federal state of Baden-Württemberg will be contributing to the project with 60 million euros or $71.3 million.

“The battery cell is the combustion chamber of the future. As a new Porsche subsidiary, the Cellforce Group will be instrumental in driving forward the research, development, production, and sales of high-performance battery cells,” said Oliver Blume, Porsche’s Chairman of the Executive Board. “This joint venture allows us to position ourselves at the forefront of global competition in developing the most powerful battery cell and make it the link between the unmistakable Porsche driving experience and sustainability. This is how we shape the future of the sports car.”

The new joint venture company will be headquartered in Tübingen, Germany. Porsche will hold an 83.75 percent stake in the company. A battery factory will be built in Tübingen, putting it near the automaker’s headquarters and research and development center in Weissach. Cellforce Group GmbH will eventually employ 80 workers by 2025, growing from its current 13.

Torge Thönnessen, CEO of Customcells, notes that the company aims to develop customer-specific battery cells for demanding applications. It also plans to reach an annual minimum capacity of 100 MWh, which is enough batteries for 1,000 vehicles.

“Porsche was founded as an engineering and development office in Stuttgart in 1931. To this day, you cannot purchase the technology that is at the heart of our high-performance sports cars. We develop it ourselves,” says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board at Porsche, Research and Development. “That is why it is only logical for us to develop and build the key technology of the future — the battery cell — ourselves. It is just as logical that we first test this new high-tech in the most competitive of environments — motor sport.

Porsche’s new battery design relies on silicon as the anode material, which has made it possible to further boost power density compared to existing units. As a result, the battery can be made smaller while still offering the same energy content. New chemistry reduces the battery’s internal resistance, allowing it to absorb more energy during regeneration and charging. Cellforce’s battery design can also better withstand higher temperatures, making them ideal for Motorsport use. Porsche and Cellforce will further develop the battery to improve stability over long durations and repeated charging and perform better under extremely cold temperatures.

Cellforce will also partner with BASF for the next-generation batteries destined for Porsche’s vehicles. BASF will provide high-energy HEDTM NCM cathode materials to quicken charging speeds and increase energy density. Production will occur starting in 2022 at Harjavalta, Finland, and Schwarzheide, Brandenburg, Germany, both of which will be facilities with low carbon footprints.

Porsche and Cellforce’s new joint venture are part of an initiative to create a competitive but sustainable value chain for lithium-ion battery supply in Europe. Initially started by the P3 Group, which now acts as a consultant to Cellforce, Porsche got involved in the project as an auto industry partner. Expect these new batteries to eventually end up in Porsche’s next-generation hybrids and battery-electric vehicles. If we were to make an estimated guess, the first model to get these batteries is the second-generation Macan EV.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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