Volkswagen has made a groundbreaking achievement in battery manufacturing with the development of a process called dry coating. This innovative technique, perfected in collaboration with printing press manufacturer Koenig & Bauer AG, has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of cell production. Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen’s battery chief, proudly announced that they are the pioneers in successfully implementing this method for both the positive and negative electrodes of the battery.
In the conventional approach to battery manufacturing, a chemical paste mixture is applied to a carrier foil to create the cathode and anode. The drying process for these materials consumes a significant amount of energy. However, Volkswagen’s dry coating method eliminates the need for drying by utilizing a special adhesive that does not require the same energy-intensive drying process.
While Tesla has managed to dry-coat the anode of their batteries following the acquisition of Maxwell Technologies in 2019, they have faced challenges with the cathode, as reported by Reuters earlier this year. In contrast, Volkswagen claims to have achieved a major milestone by producing several hundred cells using their dry coating process on a pilot line. They have set their sights on full-scale industrial production by 2027.
Volkswagen anticipates that the combination of scaled-up production, cost-effective raw materials, and the implementation of the dry coating procedure will result in a significant reduction in cell costs, estimated to be around 50%. Schmall expresses confidence in this approach. As Volkswagen’s cell plants are currently under construction in Germany, Spain, and Canada, they will initially include drying lines. However, these lines can be retrofitted at a later stage to remove the drying process, thereby freeing up approximately 15% of the factory floor space, as highlighted by Sebastian Wolf, PowerCo’s Chief Operating Officer.
The breakthrough in dry coating technology by Volkswagen and its partner marks a significant step forward in battery manufacturing. With the potential to lower costs and enhance efficiency, this development could have far-reaching implications for the electric vehicle industry and the broader adoption of clean energy solutions. The race for advancements in battery technology continues, and Volkswagen is positioning itself as a leading player in the pursuit of more sustainable mobility.