Operation Powerhouse

Volkswagen is redefining the car, counting on electric drive systems.

08.04.2022 | Porsche Consulting – The Magazine

Thomas Schmall, member of the Volkswagen AG Board of Management responsible for Technology and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, is leading the battery, charging infrastructure, and vehicle component activities and thereby mastering major parts of this challenge of the century—the strategic transformation of the world's largest car manufacturer.

Since its realignment in 2015, “Components,” as employees still call the independent Volkswagen Group Components unit, has pursued a veritably ground-breaking course, starting from a production unit for classic vehicle components like transmissions, engines, and raw castings and now turning into the nucleus of transformation in the era of electromobility. The new Group Technology division, to which Components belongs, now also develops and manufactures battery systems and drivetrains for electric vehicles. It moreover shapes crucial future-oriented topics such as charging infrastructures. Above all, however, Components is responsible for the important new battery business field, focusing on all steps along the entire value chain—from processing raw materials to developing and producing a unified cell format, managing the six planned European gigafactories, and generating business models for recycling used batteries.

Transforming the Components unit requires radical changes that Thomas Schmall has to cope with: New expertise and fields of business need to be established. International plants have to be gradually adapted and networked in efficient ways. Entire workforces need to be realigned and retrained to be ready for an electrified world.

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