Salzgitter / Stockholm (dpa) - Volkswagen has started its planned joint venture with the Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt.

Both sides each hold half of the joint venture, part of the promised by VW 900 million euros had already flowed into the company and Northvolt itself, said the Wolfsburg on Friday. The 20-percent stake of the car maker in the Stockholm company is now.

In the coming year, the two partners in Salzgitter want to build a factory for lithium-ion batteries, from the turn of the year 2023/2024 to be produced. VW and Northvolt had announced the project in June. To date, Volkswagen has been producing combustion engines for its core brand and subsidiaries at the Salzgitter location.

The development of own battery cell production is one of the most important issues for the entire car industry in Europe. So far, the manufacturers here are largely dependent on suppliers in Asia and then build the cells together to large batteries of their e-cars. An own production in Germany is still very expensive.

The dominant manufacturers include Samsung and LG from South Korea. The Chinese supplier CATL is also trying to gain a stronger foothold in Germany - in Thuringia, a plant is being built that will give BMW billions in value. Lower Saxony's Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) commented on the planned investments for Salzgitter: "We urgently need our own battery cell production sites in Lower Saxony, and Northvolt is an experienced partner."

Volkswagen sends purchasing director Stefan Sommer to the supervisory board of Northvolt. The joint project "contributes decisively to establishing the core battery cell technology also in Germany," explained the manager. VW is up to the year 2023 over 30 billion euros in electric cars. At the IAA trade fair, the Group will be presenting, among other things, the E-Model ID.3, which is to justify a new vehicle series.

There are also various initiatives in economic policy to make Europe's car and subcontracting industry more effective against rivals in Asia. Nine states decided on Wednesday, the work program for a second European battery group, said the Federal Ministry of Economics on Friday. Who exactly is represented in the consortium, was initially unknown.

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) said that within a year, it had succeeded in setting two major European projects for battery cell production on track. They are to be implemented as "Important Projects of Common European Interest" (IPCEI). German companies played a major role, it said.

Altmaier's ministry promotes the creation of a € 1 billion cell manufacturing facility to maintain and build value and jobs. In a first association - a German-French consortium - Opel is also there, other partners are Opel's parent company PSA and the French battery manufacturer juice.