Webasto announced it has started the production of batteries for electric vehicles in Germany. A supply agreement with a «European bus maker» (not specified) is already underway.
Cells for Webasto batteries come from Samsung SDI, as announced in 2018. The same provider that has been recently involved in an extension of the supply agreement with Akasol, the other German player in battery production.
So far, Webasto is producing batteries for European market. But the entry into the Chinese market is in preparation. The development and manufacture of battery systems will – together with a roof production facility – be located at the new Webasto site in Jiaxing, the company highlights. It is planned to open this plant at the beginning of 2020.
30 million euros invested in Europe
With regards to the European production, from the beginning of 2020 Webasto will furthermore manufacture its self-developed standard battery system for commercial vehicles company’s Schierling site in the district of Regensburg. For this purpose, Webasto has invested eleven million euro in a multi-product line. A further 18 million euro, says the company, flowed into the establishment of a prototype construction and validation center at its Hengersberg site in the district of Deggendorf.
Webasto entering a new market
Three years ago Webasto took the decision to develop additional fields of business in the area of electromobility, with charging solutions and battery systems. This offer is an addition to the previous Webasto core business in the area of roofs and heaters. Of course the experience gained so far made easier for Webasto to start activities in a new branch.
The company was, for instance, able to draw on its thermo management know-how, its in-house electronics manufacturing and its experience in the installation of complex systems into vehicles. Moreover, Webasto has also brought further electromobility experts into the company over the past three years.
Webasto: battery production in Germany
Webasto is leveraging its established production network in order to manufacture battery systems for the European market: roof systems have been produced in Schierling for over 30 years. Furthermore, the group’s competence center for lightweight construction technologies is also located at this site, Webasto points out. Supplementing this, Webasto is now manufacturing battery systems at the same plant.
Webasto has also developed its Hengersberg site with a view to producing innovative solutions for the field of electromobility. The competence center for convertible roofs has been expanded with a state-of-the-art testing and prototype construction facility for batteries.
Samsung cells for Webasto batteries
Employees at Hengersberg furthermore manufacture aluminum boxes for battery systems which are subsequently sent to the production location at Schierling. The cells for the Webasto standard battery are sourced from Samsung SDI, a Webasto partner in the field of battery systems since 2018.
“We have successfully entered this market with our innovative future mobility products and the first buses with Webasto batteries will shortly take to the streets of major European cities. With the commencement of our in-house battery production activities we are opening a completely new chapter in our almost 120-year corporate history. This is a great team effort by our many expert colleagues, of which we can be very proud”, emphasizes Dr. Holger Engelmann, Chairman of the Management Board of Webasto SE.