Webasto starts battery production in Germany

Sep 30, 2019   Technology

Webasto, global supplier to the automotive industry, has started the production of batteries for electric vehicles in Germany.

The manufacture of battery packs for a European bus maker has already commenced at the company's Schierling site in the district of Regensburg. From the beginning of 2020 the company will furthermore manufacture its self-developed standard battery system for commercial vehicles there. For this purpose, Webasto has invested €11 million ($12.01 million) in a multi-product line. A further €18 million flowed into the establishment of a prototype construction and validation centre at its Hengersberg site in the district of Deggendorf.

Three years ago Webasto took the decision not only in future to further expand its core business in the area of roofs and heaters, but also to develop additional fields of business in the area of electromobility, with charging solutions and battery systems. "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", emphasises Dr. Holger Engelmann, Chairman of the Management Board of Webasto SE.

Competencies in-place at existing production sites form the basis

As it established the development and production of its battery systems, Webasto benefited from the competencies within its core business. 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 – all of which are key success factors for the new field of business. Moreover, Webasto has also brought further electromobility experts into the company over the past three years.

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 centre for lightweight construction technologies is also located at this site. 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 centre for convertible roofs has been expanded with a state-of-the-art testing and prototype construction facility for batteries. Employees at Hengersberg furthermore manufacture aluminium 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.

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. It is planned to open this plant at the beginning of 2020.

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