VW forms task force with battery cell supplier LG Chem ahead of EV launch

October 4, 2018 06:01 CET

Volkswagen has formed a biweekly task force with South Korean battery cell supplier LG Chem to ensure the security of VW’s supply chain for electric-vehicle batteries.

Using its new EV architecture known as MEB, the VW brand plans to launch 18 full-electric vehicles throughout the world by the end of 2022 as part of its Roadmap E electrification strategy.

Ahead of the series production start of its first EV model, the Golf-sized I.D. compact hatchback, in November of next year, VW’s highest-ranking EV executive personally meets with his counterparts at LG Chem’s EV cell production site in Poland to discuss progress and solve potential problems that may arise.

“There are risks in third- and fourth-tier areas, especially in these new technologies. This is the reason why we created this task force with LG Chem,”  Thomas Ulbrich, the VW brand’s management board member responsible for electric mobility, told reporters in Dresden, Germany.

While LG and its suppliers may be used to producing battery cells for consumer electronics, they have little experience with the demanding requirements and exact processes needed for automotive applications, Ulbrich explained.

This was the only way VW could produce 300,000 EVs a year by 2021 with the reliability customers demand of the brand, he said.

“The battery cell availability is for us the base really to produce the cars,” Ulbrich said, “but we are taking care of it.”

Ulbrich’s caution echoes that of his rivals at Mercedes-Benz. Production chief Markus Schaefer said his main concern in ramping up production of the EQC electric crossover by the middle of next year was all the components that go into battery-pack production at Kamenz, Germany.      

You can reach Christiaan Hetzner at christiaan.hetzner@gmail.com.

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