VW Reportedly Plans to Build Its Own Multi-Billion-Euro Battery Gigafactory

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Not one year after the outbreak of this decade's biggest automotive industry scandal, Volkswagen might be switching the track on its priorities by routing much more resources towards the development of electric vehicles.
Faced with rapidly growing trust issues following the Dieselgate debacle, the biggest German manufacturer and the world's number two had to readjust quickly, and a move towards zero-emissions vehicles seemed like the logical reaction. Volkswagen had to wither the storm, hang tight for a few months and come up with a plan that would give the company some of its lost credibility.

Even though more than eight months have passed since the defeat devices were found, VW is yet to come up with viable solutions for the affected cars. However, even though it had to do some serious expenses cuts, that doesn't mean the company won't also invest. It's just that instead of further developing its TDI engines - something that not that long ago seemed like the biggest priority - Volkswagen is now thinking about opening its own battery gigafactory.

German publication Handelsblatt reports that company sources talk of a facility similar to that built by Tesla, where Volkswagen could be making its own battery cells without depending on foreign suppliers - most notably Panasonic (Tesla's partner), LG, and Samsung. With numerous electric models announced throughout the Group's brands in the next years, there's no doubt a high-volume manufacturer like Volkswagen is going to need a large number of battery cells, provided its vehicles will also succeed in attracting clients.

Handelsblatt says that the automotive giant's non-executive supervisory board will have to make a decision on this matter during its annual meeting, which is scheduled to take place on June 22. The source talks of a multi-million-euro investment that will only reap benefits in a few years from now, but should it go well with the company's decision makers, it would put Volkswagen in a unique position among the European carmakers.

It's starting to look pretty clear that in four or five years from now, the batteries will be the most sought-after component for a new car, equaled maybe only by the silicon chips required for the vehicle's computer. Volkswagen may be strapped for cash right now, but the conservative company needs to make a decision if it wants to return to the position it so briefly occupied during 2015 and building the European version of Tesla's Gigafactory might just be it.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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