After a record construction time of only 15 months, AKASOL AG has laid another important cornerstone for dynamic growth and moved into its new headquarters in the southwest of Darmstadt. The move marks the launch of serial production of the first battery systems on production lines already in place in Gigafactory 1, which is part of the AKASOL campus. Beginning in mid-2021, the Company will have a production capacity of 2.5 GWh available, which can be expanded up to 5 GWh depending on business development.
“We are proud that we could move into our new headquarters in record time and on schedule, launching serial production on time for the first battery systems in the new Gigafactory. Despite the difficulties associated with the coronavirus pandemic, we managed to complete an innovative and exemplary construction project in just 15 months. The 20,000-square-meter site houses a campus that contributes to AKASOL’s dynamic growth. Our Gigafactory 1 will be far and away Europe’s most progressive, modern and largest serial-production facility for commercial-vehicle battery systems. Hence, we here in Hesse have already managed to accomplish the same thing we hear from Brandenburg nearly every day. A size smaller, perhaps, but it’s still an impressive accomplishment,” according to AKASOL CEO Sven Schulz.
Production at the new AKASOL campus has already begun: The first battery systems for hybrid and fully electric vehicles are already in production there. Production of additional battery-system types for a long-term series customer will begin at Gigafactory 1 starting in mid-2021. “With these new production facilities, we will open a new era of serial production for lithium-ion battery modules and systems. As a first step, beginning in mid-2021, we will have a production capacity of 2.5 GWh in Darmstadt,” Schulz explained. According to him, ongoing growth in the degree of automation is an important factor in the effort to meet AKASOL customers’ increasing demand for battery systems ready for mass production: Battery modules and battery systems alike will be manufactured using highly automated processes running in a modern, and fully networked Industry 4.0 environment (smart factory). The new Gigafactory also has enough space for the installation of additional production lines of the same type. As a result, production capacity at the Darmstadt location could be expanded further in the future – to up to 5 GWh per year. “In doing so, we are creating important prerequisites for optimally serving the increasingly mature market for the electrification of the commercial vehicle sector; at the same time, it further expands our position as a technology leader over the competition.”
Along with Gigafactory 1, the new AKASOL headquarters also houses the state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly technology and development center as well as the directly connected test and validation center. The Company will have numerous test benches there for extensive mechanical and electrical testing of cells, modules and systems. These include, for example, two shaker test benches with a load rating of up to 200 kN and 50 kN including a climate hood for investigating environmental influences under extreme mechanical conditions. “We will be able to accelerate our development projects even more, thanks to the new test benches in our test and validation center,” according to AKASOL CTO Stephen Raiser. The test facilities will not go into operation until early next year, but the adjacent head office will be in use right from the start: The 7,000-square-meter building is the new home to the AKASOL R&D team, product and project management, as well as sales, purchasing and administration. With its modern architecture, it creates an optimal work environment for up to 300 employees.
“The new world of work setting in the AKASOL headquarters is characterized by spacious open-plan offices in connection with many attractive collaboration and meeting areas. This promotes cooperation in the highly dynamic environment of electromobility even more. We are proud to offer our highly motivated team a sustainable and appealing work environment, where knowledge is bundled and the innovative strength within our company is increased for the benefit of our customers,” summarizes Carsten Bovenschen, CFO of AKASOL AG. Furthermore, Bovenschen is also pleased to note that employees are offered a large number of attractive social and meeting rooms in order to sustainably promote the appreciative culture of work at AKASOL. Since sustainability is one of the most important pillars of the Company’s strategy, AKASOL has built a 700 kWp solar power system on the roof of the Gigafactory, which will cover a large portion of the energy needs. In addition, the Company parking lot will also be equipped with more than 70 charging points for electric vehicles – currently the largest charging station park in Darmstadt and Hesse.
The investment in the new headquarters underlines AKASOL’s group strategy to successfully manage dynamic growth while laying the groundwork for long-term corporate success, as Sven Schulz confirms: “We are delighted that with the move to our new headquarters, we can now open another successful chapter in our Company's history. AKASOL is an internationally oriented company firmly rooted in the vicinity of numerous international high-tech corporations at its Darmstadt location. Now we have set our sights on making history as a global player and innovation driver in the rapidly growing market for electromobility.” According to Schulz, proximity to universities and research institutions also offers a solid basis for inspiring well-educated and motivated professionals toward further growth at AKASOL.
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