The electric cars race is heating up in the corporate HR departments also. According to a report by Manager-Magazins, Volkswagen has allegedly recruited a BMW expert who was responsible for the development of solid batteries. Jörg Hoffmann is the next prominent move from Munich to Wolfsburg after the VW boss Herbert Diess took a similar route years back. In addition, VW has also allegedly poached the South Korean Soonho Ahn from Apple, who was previously head of battery development in Cupertino.
Both those hires send a clear signal to VW’s competitors: The Wolfsburg giant is fully committed to an electric car future and will spare no expense in grabbing the largest market share. Of course, personnel moves between companies is nothing new, nor unusual, and often, BMW is on the receiving end of talent from other carmakers. This move by VW also reiterates the need to build your own batteries in house, similar to Tesla’s approach to market.
The BMW Group has seen for years this strategy as the key to better electric cars and has long since recognized the need to have your own battery technology. Of course, the vertical integration in-house can achieve better yield in terms of performance. Furthermore, it also creates independence from suppliers and manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries. In order to create space for the increasing number of in-house experts and battery technology, the BMW Group built the battery cell competence center in Munich from the end of 2017 and put it into operation in 2019.
The auto industry is hoping that solid-state batteries will take a leap for the range of electric cars, but above all for the space requirements of the rechargeable batteries. Compared to lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries with the same energy density should be noticeably cheaper, lighter and more compact. But, there are still various obstacles to overcome on the way to series production for use in hundreds of thousands of cars.
BMW has therefore invested in one of the market leaders and acquired shares in Solid Power , which intends to manufacture solid-state batteries suitable for automotive applications in just a few years. We expect BMW to show its first vehicle with a solid-state battery around 2025 when the Neue Klasse family of cars will arrive.