Salzgitter, Germany - Volkswagen is set to start producing electric car batteries and charging stations as it prepares to mass produce electric vehicles and overhaul its components division, which makes engines and steering parts.
The company announced on Friday that it would invest 870 million euros (R13.5bn) by 2020 to developing electric car components, adding that its batteries business would manufacture battery cells and packs as well as oversee recycling of old cells.
VW also said it would start producing mobile electric car charging stations at its nearby plant in Hannover, which currently makes engines and castings.
The carmaker will bundle cells from electric car batteries into storage powerbanks that can be used to recharge up to 15 electric cars at a time and be transported to locations where power is needed, such as a stadium during a rock concert.
Customers will be able to find the mobile charging stations using an app on their smartphone, it said.
"It can be set up flexibly and independent of the power supply wherever it is needed: for example, in public parking lots in the city, on company premises, or as a temporary charging point at large-scale events," VW said.
A depleted charging point could be exchanged for a new one, or the station could be permanently attached to the power supply to recharge itself, VW added.
The battery charging station would allow VW to store solar and wind energy, and could recharge itself during off-peak hours, helping to ease strain on the power grid, the carmaker said.
The first mobile charging stations will be set up this year in VW's hometown of Wolfsburg and rolled out to other cities in 2020.
VW is currently developing a special platform called MEB for its upcoming electric vehicles, including a family of cars inspired by the I.D. concept vehicles, spearheaded by a Golf-sized hatchback that's due in 2020.