VW: 40 Gigafactories Needed to Keep up with Electric Car Demand

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July 11, 2017—In order to keep up with anticipated demand, a spokesman from VW said there is a need to build the equivalent of more than 40 Tesla gigafactories by 2025, according to Road Show.

This projection is actually higher than it was 13 months ago, according to Ulrich Eichhorn, VW's head of R&D and the man in charge of that forecast. 

Volkswagen said that 25 percent of its sales volume in 2025 will come from battery-electric vehicles, the majority of which rely on lithium ion battery cells. VW estimates that it will need a supply of approximately 150 gigawatt-hours of electricity in 2025, enough capacity to power a single 60-watt lightbulb for 285,000 years.

If each battery factory were capable of producing 35 gigawatt-hours per year, VW alone would require five facilities. Extrapolate those needs across the global automotive industry, as many players are trying to get sizable quantities of electric cars on the road by that time, and dozens more of facilities will be needed. The total supply would be in excess of 1.5 terawatt-hours.

The desire for large quantities of battery cells is what drove Tesla to build the first gigafactory, a collaborative effort with Panasonic that will supply the batteries for Tesla's upcoming Model 3. 

VW is addressing the electric vehicle revolution in other ways as well. The $2 billion that Volkswagen has to invest in electric vehicle infrastructure in the U.S. as part of its court settlement for the DieselGate scandal is starting to turn into real charging stations. The company opened the first fast-charging stations in the Washington, D.C. area.

The stations are being deployed by Electrify America, a VW subsidiary created as part of the German automaker’s settlements with California Air Resources Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its use of emission test cheating devices in its diesel vehicles.


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