Volkswagen’s push to spend $87 billion to electrify its fleet of future vehicles is forcing management to look at cutting costs and selling off brands to ensure the effort is fully funded.
Bugatti is often the first one mentioned as being on the block — going to Croatian electric supercar maker Rimac — and the idea was teased once again by Oliver Blume, Volkswagen management board member and CEO of Porsche AG, according to Reuters.
“The future of Bugatti is an issue that will be decided on a group level,” Porsche said in a statement.
Blume issued a similar idea in February during an interview with a German newspaper, but the deal has been floating around for nearly a year now. The deal would call for Bugatti to go to Rimac and Porsche AG would get a larger stake in the Croatian company. It currently holds a 15.5% share of the EV maker. They’re not alone as Hyundai, Jaguar and Koenigsegg also hold stakes in the company.
EVs driving VWs focus these days
In March, VW CEO Herbert Diess confirmed the company was putting a partnership in place with Rimac. The deal would have Rimac and Porsche work together, with Porsche as a minority partner — not unlike the structure outlined by Blume previously.
The moves involving Porsche attract attention because earlier this year it was rumored that VW was considering selling off the unit to help fund its EV program.
The listing, which reportedly could net as much $30 billion, would only be for part of the sports car maker and wouldn’t occur until next year, the publication reported. Some analysts believe if Porsche AG were to be spun off entirely it could be worth more than $120 billion.
However, the potential shift of Bugatti is interesting because a separate rumor floated late last month about the potential sale of Lamborghini, which is also owned by Volkswagen.
British car magazine Autocar reported that a Swiss-based group of investors, Quantum Group AG, forged a partnership with London-based firm Centricus Asset Management to make a $9.2 billion offer for the Italian super car maker.
Volkswagen officials said “No, Lamborghini is not for sale.”
Porsche getting EV upgrade
All of the rumors flying about aside, Porsche is helping VW in its transition by developing and adopting EV technologies. The sports car maker, according to VW, is setting up a venture with Customcells to develop and build performance batteries that significantly reduce charging times.
The JV will be called Cellforce Group GmbH. VW officials declined to say how much will be invested, offering only it will be “a high double-digit million euro sum.” It will own 80% of the new company. The production facility expects a production capacity of 100 kilowatt hours, which equates to batteries for 1,000 cars annually.
The chemistry of the new high-performance cells relies on silicon as the anode material. This makes it possible to significantly boost the power density compared to current good series batteries. The battery can offer the same energy content with a smaller size. The new chemistry reduces the battery’s internal resistance. This allows it to absorb more energy during energy recuperation and at the same time it offers improved performance for fast charging.
Another special feature of the Cellforce battery cell is the fact that it is better able to withstand high temperatures. These are all qualities which are highly valued in motorsport. In addition, use on the racetrack does not necessarily require the battery to function in sub-zero temperatures nor remain stable for years over many charging cycles — goals which have yet to be achieved with this new cell technology, the company said.