Volkswagen’s ID.Buzz is one of those vehicles that attracts plenty of attention. It may be a modern EV, but people are drawn to the retro design that is very evocative of something revered from VW’s heritage. As our writer notes, people almost swarm to it. “Glad you like it, but no, it’s not a campervan.”

ID.Buzz – Volkswagen’s hive for five

The transition to electric vehicles is, as we all know, about much more than the product itself – important though that obviously is. Manufacturing capacity for batteries and developing supply chains are of increasing interest for all in the industry.

Automotive Cells Company (ACC), a joint venture between Stellantis, Mercedes-Benz and TotalEnergies, has celebrated the inauguration of its battery gigafactory in Billy-Berclau Douvrin, France. The first of the site’s three European production units will become operational in late 2023.

Stellantis ACC gigafactory inaugurated in France

Toyota Motor Corporation is stepping up its expansion in the battery electric vehicle (BEV) segment with the announcement of an additional US$2.1bn investment in its battery plant currently under construction in Randolph County in the US state of North Carolina.

Toyota to lift investment in US battery plant, produce BEVs in 2025

POSCO FUTURE M Company, part of South Korea’s Posco Group, confirmed this week that the Canadian government has agreed to provide significant subsidies for its EV battery materials joint venture with US automaker General Motors.

Posco-GM cathode JV secures Canadian funding

In terms of activity around the world, Indonesia is becoming a hot spot for investment. Hyundai Mobis has begun construction on a new EV battery plant in Indonesia. Completion is scheduled for the second half of 2024.

Hyundai Mobis starts construction of Indonesian battery systems plant

Meanwhile, here in Britain, there’s something of a debate emerging about how government strategy should be framed for the electric auto shift – whether we’re talking about incentives for battery gigafactories, or ensuring there are enough public chargers in place. As EV volumes take off, it looks like there is going to be a big challenge to create enough public chargers. Beyond the ‘early adopters’, future mainstream customers may well be put off by anecdotes of queues and long waiting times at charging stations.

UK has just one public electric charger for every 36 EVs

Also still on batteries, some interesting insights on the pros and cons of sodium-ion batteries can be found in an article that also asks, are they a potential alternative to lithium-ion batteries?

The role of hydrogen in the future energy mix is a topic as old as the hills. There are some interesting thoughts on the matter in this interview.

Some companies are further ahead with hydrogen than others: Hyundai starts production of fuel cells in China

Another interview we have just published: British Formula 1 designer and engineer Mike Gascoyne on taking F1 design tech to eVTOL UAVs. As he also points out, nothing ages as quickly as racing car and he’d like to see something he designed last a little bit longer.    

In other news this week, Daimler plus Japanese heavy-duty truck makers announced a collaboration, Lotus announced a return to South Korea and we learnt that rival OEMs are working together to save a supplier in Michigan.

Have a nice weekend.

Dave Leggett, Editor, Just Auto