Porsche to start producing batteries for racing cars
Volkswagen’s luxury unit Porsche AG is to partner with battery expert Customcells to manufacture high-performance batteries with reduced charging times.
Porsche will invest an intimated high double-digit million amount in the new venture, named Cellforce Group, in which it will hold an 83.72 per cent stake. Cellforce will become a new Porsche subsidiary. Its partner in the venture is German lithium-ion battery specialist Customcells, and it is also slated to receive €60m from the German government.
Porsche will begin work on its high-performance cells at its Weissach Development Centre. Battery manufacturing will begin at small scale in 2024 and is likely to be based in the university town of Tübingen: home to the new venture. An initial workforce of 13 is expected to grow to 80 by 2025.
“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 CEO.
“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.”
According to Thorge Thönnessen, CEO of Customcells, the joint venture will aim to reach a minimal annual capacity of 100MWh: equivalent to high-performance batteries for 1,000 vehicles. The cells will charge in just 15 minutes, the executives told local media.
Dr Michael Steiner, member of the Porsche Executive Board, added: “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. 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.”
The Porsche Taycan, a popular electric sports car model, benefitted from key technological features from the Le Mans-winning Porsche 919 Hybrid. Batteries for racing cars will need to cope with high temperatures and be suitable for fast charging and effective energy recuperation.
Traditional automakers are investing in battery technology to challenge Tesla Inc and attract customers looking to replace petrol and diesel vehicles with EVs with improved driving range, performance and charging times.
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