BERLIN -- Continental is planning to make investments in battery production to overcome competition given by the Asian and U.S. manufacturers.
CEO Elmar Degenhart told Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe, ‘We could well imagine getting into the production of innovative batteries. That also goes for producing battery cells.’
Degenhart said he aims for an association for cost sharing. An investment of 3 billion Euros would be required for setting up the plant that could supply around 500,000 electric cars annually.
Continental would not be investing anymore in the lithium ion batteries that are currently in use, but the focus would be on the next generation of solid-state batteries, which might go on-board for production in 2024 or 2025, Degenhart said. Batteries are such instruments that require a technology leap in energy density and costs, which is expected to get achieved with the next generation of solid state batteries, he said.
If Continental takes final decision to invest in battery production, it would initially open three factories, in Europe, North America and Asia. These locations are selected so that production would be close to customers.
Germany has been kept out as an option for the location due to its high electricity prices, Degenhart said. He noted that LG and Samsung brands were already building smaller battery factories in Poland and Hungary, where electricity’s cost is 50 percent cheaper.