Racing is a significant part of Porsche’s heritage, and gradually adopting electric technology is the right things to do. Porsche announced a joint venture called Cellforce whose task will be to design and manufacture battery cells suitable for high-performance race cars.
Powering a race car with batteries is difficult because the technology adds weight and requires more time to charge than it takes to fill up a fuel tank. The company is out to solve these issues, and it believes it’s on the brink of a breakthrough. It’s working on battery cells that rely on silicon as the anode material, a solution which should allow its engineers to boost a battery’s power density and in turn decrease its overall size and weight to benefit performance.
Porsche warned this new battery doesn’t perform well in freezing temperatures, and it’s not designed to withstand years of use and abuse. This is perfectly fine on the track races are rarely held when it’s 10 degrees below zero, and race car components are replaced on a regular basis in pursuit of reliability.
Michael Steiner, the head of the German carmaker’s research and development department, also clarified this isn’t an answer to Tesla’s Gigafactories. It’s considerably smaller because it’s primarily a racing-oriented project.
Porsche selected Customcells, a German company formed in 2012 to develop cells for lithium-ion battery packs, as its partner in the project. It holds 83.75% of Cellforce, while Customcells owns the remaining 16.25%. Although neither party disclosed the financial terms of the deal, Porsche noted its investment lies in the middle-double-digit-millions range.