It is a goal for which Volkswagen has to stretch itself mightily.

By 2030, according to the plan, every second vehicle in the Wolfsburg group should be an electric car.

In order to achieve this, the management is investing a lot of money in the entire value chain, especially in battery technology, for which VW is now launching a new joint venture.

Together with the Belgian materials technology group Umicore, the group wants to produce cathode and pre-material for around 160 gigawatt hours of battery cell capacity per year by the end of the decade, as the partners announced on Monday.

That corresponds to the needs of 2.2 million e-cars.

Cathodes are among the most expensive and important components in battery electric vehicles.

They represent around half the value of the battery cells, which in turn account for around 40 percent of the total added value in the car.

To put it simply, a mixture of high-purity materials such as nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium is required to produce them.

Specialized processors such as Umicore, BASF or their Asian competitors use this to produce a paste that serves as the basis for further processing and is currently one of the bottlenecks in cell production.

Thomas Schmall, CTO at VW, summed up the logic behind the new joint venture on Monday.

"Immediate and long-term access to extensive capacity therefore represents a clear competitive advantage."

Focus on supply chains that are as local as possible

The partners are planning around 3 billion euros in investments, also for new production facilities, the exact location of which is still being negotiated.

One possibility is Nysa in Poland, where Umicore opened its first European factory for the production of cathode material a few days ago.

The joint venture is to deliver to the group's own VW battery cell factories in Europe, six of which are planned, the first of which is in Salzgitter.

Through additional agreements, according to the announcement, VW and Umicore also want to work together in the procurement of raw materials, a highly competitive field in which geopolitical tensions are increasingly playing a role.

In Germany, VW is working with Vulcan Energy, among others, to enable completely CO2-free lithium production in the Upper Rhine Graben region.

In Canada, too, VW has entered into new partnerships that will in future also include a stake in mines.

The concept behind this is to make production in every major region of the world - from Europe to North America to Asia, especially China - as self-sufficient as possible and thus independent of conflicts in other parts of the world.

Battery recycling in the future?

Umicore boss Mathias Miedreich said on Monday that the joint venture with VW is strategically unique because it is the first all-encompassing supply chain in the field of battery technology in Europe.

"No other partnership has such strength across the value chain," he said.

The recycling of used batteries is also an option for the joint venture.

By 2026, a capacity of 40 gigawatt hours is to be built up.

In the years that follow, the pace should pick up in order to reach the planned 160 gigawatt hours.

VW and Umicore had already made the first announcements about the joint venture last year.

Since then, a concept has been developed that now offers advantages for both partners.

For example, VW's own battery company Power Co has access to innovative, sustainably sourced and tailor-made high-performance battery material on a significant scale and at competitive prices.

In return, the Belgian partner will have access to a significant share of the European cathode market.

The partners want to share costs, investments, income and profits equally.