Porsche is entering a new niche: racing battery cells, as the Volkswagen Group shifts its focus to battery production.
As part of a joint venture between Porsche and battery manufacturer Customcells, the carmaker said Monday that it will spend a “high double-digit million sum” in a new corporate entity named Cellforce Group GmbH, which will create high-performance racing battery cells.
“The combustion chamber of the future is the battery cell,” Porsche Chairman Oliver Blume stated in a statement. “This is how we shape the sports car’s future.”
The racing battery cells in question will employ a novel silicon anode that, according to Porsche, will deliver more energy density than existing series-production cells by lowering internal resistance.
According to Porsche, this battery racing chemistry will be more resistant to high temperatures, making it more suited to prospective racing uses. The new chemistry hasn’t been tested at sub-zero temperatures, and it’s unknown if it’ll last as long as existing lithium-ion cells, but Porsche points out that they aren’t particularly essential issues in racing.
According to Porsche, batteries are still too weighty for its smaller sports vehicles, but if it can achieve adequate dependability, this new technology might provide some future answers to that problem. It may also put the company in a strong position if battery chemistry becomes a hot topic in motorsports. Porsche currently competes in Formula E, although the series demands that all teams utilize a standard battery.
Porsche owns an 83.75 percent share of the joint company, which is based in Tübingen, Germany. The location of the racing battery facility has yet to be determined, but it will be close to Porsche’s research and development center in Weissach, as well as the automaker’s headquarters in Zuffenhausen.
Porsche stated the Federal Republic of Germany and the state of Baden-Württemberg will each contribute €60 million (about $71 million at current exchange rates).
Porsche said during VW’s battery day that it will be in charge of the Volkswagen Group’s high-performance cells and battery know-how.
The Volkswagen Group as a whole has been shifting its focus to become a battery manufacturer, with specialized technologies such as solid-state cells being included in the transition. Continued investment in QuantumScape, a firm that has promised advances with its solid-state cells, is part of the latter.