Prime Minister Weil visited Salzgitter as part of his two-day summer tour through Lower Saxony with a focus on energy. The Gigafactory is regarded as an industrial lighthouse in Germany and as a figurehead for lower Saxony as a location. The Gigafactory is also taking on a pioneering role in terms of sustainability: it relies entirely on renewable energies, and innovative production processes such as dry coating will reduce energy requirements by up to 30 percent in the future.
Weil explained on site: "It was a courageous and wise decision by Volkswagen to build the first gigafactory for battery cell production in Lower Saxony. The time of the pandemic has taught us that we need to be independent of supplies from distant countries in important areas of production. This applies in particular to the battery as the most important component of electric vehicles. We must ensure that Germany will continue to be the location of battery cell production in the future despite high energy costs."
Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Board Member Group Technology: "A year ago this was still an open field, but now we are already setting up the first high-tech machines. This shows the speed at which we are putting our plans into practice. PowerCo is well on its way to becoming a global player in the battery business and can become a new, future-proof powerhouse for Lower Saxony and Germany."
With a construction area of around 2 million square meters (equivalent to around 280 football fields), the Gigafactory Salzgitter is one of the largest construction projects in Lower Saxony. In total, three PowerCo sites are already under construction: In addition to Salzgitter, further Gigafactories are being built in Valencia and St. Thomas, Canada. The total capacity amounts to up to 200 gigawatt hours per year, enough for more than 2 million electric cars.
PowerCo: Magnet for battery experts
The PowerCo is developing into an attraction for battery experts. On July 1, 2023, the thousandth employee will start working for the battery company. By the end of the year, the number of employees is expected to grow further to up to 1,500. The average age is currently 38 years, more than a quarter of employees have an international background. PowerCo also has an above-average proportion of women of more than 30 percent compared to the rest of the industry.
PowerCo CEO Frank Blome: "We are building an absolute top team. One year after its foundation, PowerCo has become a magnet for experienced battery specialists who are in short supply and hot demand worldwide. At the same time, the qualification offensive for employees from the Group is in full swing. Especially in times of a shortage of skilled workers, this is a clear competitive advantage for us."