Porsche to Make High-Performance Battery Cells in Germany

Porsche AG will develop and produce battery cells for electric sports cars in a new joint venture with a German lithium-ion specialist, taking a hands-on role in expanding its technological edge.

The carmaker is investing a high double-digit million euro sum in Custom Cells GmbH and will control a 83.75% stake in the Cellforce venture, according to a statement. Small-scale production is slated to start in 2024 and the German state will contribute about 60 million euros ($71 million) in funding.

“The battery cell is the combustion chamber of the future,” Porsche Chief Executive Officer Oliver Blume said in the statement Monday. The new subsidiary will play a major role in researching, developing, producing and selling high-performance cells, he said.

Porsche to Make High-Performance Battery Cells in Germany

Traditional carmakers are stepping up their expertise in battery technology to challenge Tesla Inc. and attract customers with improved driving range, performance and charging time. Batteries for sports cars need to cope with high temperatures and be capable of fast-charging and effective energy recuperation.

The new cells will allow charging in less than 15 minutes, Blume said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag published Sunday. The brand’s Taycan model currently needs 22 1/2 minutes to charge the battery to 80% from 5%, he said.

Porsche will use silicon as anode material for higher energy density and more compact batteries. BASF SE has been tapped as a development partner and will supply cathode materials. The new factory outside Stuttgart will have an annual capacity of at least 100 megawatt hours, enough to make cells for about 1,000 sports cars a year. The initial workforce of 13 people will be expanded to as many as 80 by 2025.

Porsche development chief Michael Steiner said the company will continue to test its battery technology in motorsports, with experience from the race track helping to refine technology for the Taycan that was introduced in 2019. The new cells will first be used in a Porsche race car or a high-performance version of one of its existing models, he said.

Volkswagen AG’s most profitable brand added a more spacious version of the Taycan to its lineup this year and anticipates more than 80% of global deliveries will be fully or partly electric in 2030. The Taycan may soon eclipse Porsche’s 911 model in global sales, and a fully electric version of the best-selling Macan SUV is due to hit showrooms in 2023.

Porsche CEO Blume said the new high-performance cells could eventually be used by fellow VW group brands such as Audi or Lamborghini. He said the plan to decide on a possible tie-up of VW group’s French Bugatti brand with Croatian electric supercar maker Rimac in the first half of this year remains valid, indicating a deal could be announced soon. Porsche owns a 24% stake in Rimac.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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