VW hires Apple, BMW execs to strengthen battery expertise

Europe

The Volkswagen Group has hired two prominent battery specialists from Apple and BMW as it looks to boost its expertise in next-generation cell technologies.

Soonho Ahn, former head of global battery developments at Apple, started as chief technical officer at VW Group’s battery division this month, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Joerg Hoffmann, the former head of battery cell, fuel cell and electric drive at BMW, joined VW Group in October as head of program management for solid-state batteries, according to his LinkedIn account.

The moves were first reported by Germany’s Manager Magazin.

VW confirmed the appointments to Automotive News Europe‘s German sister publication Automobilewoche.

Ahn joined Apple in 2018 to lead its battery development after moving from battery maker Samsung SDI, where he rose to the position of senior vice president for next-generation batteries and materials innovation. Prior to that he was in charge of lithium ion battery development at the South Korean company.

Hoffman worked at BMW for 21 years, according to his LinkedIn profile, which didn’t go into detail about his career progression. His former roles at the German automaker included managing electric component production.

VW has set itself one of the earliest deadlines among automotive companies to bring solid-state batteries to market.

Only Toyota has matched its 2025 deadline, although battery companies CATL and Panasonic have also set the same target year.

“The endgame, from our point of view, is solid state,” Frank Blome, head of battery and systems at Volkswagen Group components, said at VW’s Power Day presentation this spring. “The simpler design leads to higher performance and lower costs.”

VW works on solid-state cells with QuantumScape, a Stanford University spinoff in which VW holds a one-third stake with an investment of $300 million.

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