Porsche has been synonyms to racing for a long. With focus shifting towards electric technology, the company has found new ways to remain relevant to be close to the track. The German automobile manufacturer has announced a joint venture for manufacturing battery cells. The carmaker has announced a partnership with Customcells for the joint venture called Cellforce. The company will manufacture battery cells best suited for high-performance race cars. The batteries developed by Porsche will also be used in some high-end, racing-inspired production vehicles. The company will be using silicon as against commonly used graphite for the anode material. Michael Steiner, member of the executive board, R&D at Porsche said that the research and pre-development are already underway. “We are working on gaining the cell chemistry. The partnership will Customcells has put us in a strong position. The joint venture will have a total of 80 engineers. Out of 80, 20 engineers will be in production while 60 will be in development. In the beginning, the main focus will be on the development of the cell and cell chemistry. Also, the company has decided to focus on high performance and not on high volume.
Powering a race car with batteries is not an easy task. This is for the reason that technology adds weight and requires much more time to charge when compared to filling up a fuel tank. But Porsche is working on solving this issue. The company believes it is on the verge of a breakthrough. It is finding the solution by using silicon as the anode material. Porsche believes that it will help engineers to boost the power density of batteries. This will in turn decrease the overall size and weight of the battery and hence improve the performance. The new chemistry on which Porsche is working will reportedly reduce the internal resistance of the battery and hence the pack will take less time to charge. It is also believed to withstand higher temperatures than currently available in electric cars. But the carmaker has clearly stated that it is not a tipping point that will be a breakthrough in the field of Electronic Vehicles. It said that the batteries are not designed to perform in freezing temperatures nor they can withstand years of use and abuse. But this is perfectly fine as it is not common to held a race when it is 10 degrees below zero. And components of race are regularly replaced in pursuit of reliability.
Michael Steiner, the head Porsches’ research and development department, said that they are in no way trying to provide an answer to Gigafactories of Tesla. Because the focus of Porsche is mainly on racing-oriented projects, the size of Cellforce will be significantly smaller. “It will be much smaller when compared to all of the Gigafactories. The production capacity that we are targeting is around 100 megawatt-hours. This is not an exact figure and it could be slightly more than this. But we see in terms of cars, it should be about 1,000 units a year,” Steiner said. The company has not provided any detail about the technology but hinted that the production is not likely to start anytime before 2024. For those who are unaware, Customcells is a German company founded in the year 2012 to manufacture lithium-ion battery packs. Under the joint venture, Porsche will hold 83.75 per cent of Cellforce while the remaining is owned by Customcells. Both of them have remained silent on the financial terms of the deal. The German carmaker has hinted that its investment in Cellforce is in the middle of the double-digit-millions range.