VW and battery parts partners to set up shop in Poland

The auto battery parts joint venture between Volkswagen's PowerCo and Belgian materials firm Umicore has chosen Poland as the site for its first factory, the German automaker announced on 7 October, according to Reuters.

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Through the R56 billion joint venture, dubbed Ionway, first flagged in December 2021, the companies are joining a number of European automakers that have brought battery supplies closer to home in the shift towards electric vehicles.

The Polish government is providing R99 billion in cash grants for the investment in the southwestern town of Nysa that will create around 900 jobs, it said.

Ionway wants to build up its annual production capacity by the end of the decade to around 160 gigawatt hours (GWh) a year – enough for 2.2 million electric vehicles.

PowerCo – whose Poland initiative comes after VW set out plans in April to invest up to R99 billion to build a car battery plant in Ontario, Canada – said it had decided on Poland because the location was strategically favourable, plus there was sufficient skilled labour and renewable energy sources for production.

Construction work will begin as soon as the permitting process is completed, it said.

Ionway is intended to supply PowerCo's European battery cell factories with key battery materials and to cover a large portion of PowerCo's needs in the European Union. In return, Umicore will receive secured access to an important part of Europe's demand for cathode materials for electric vehicles.

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