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Porsche to set up joint venture with German battery maker

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen's luxury sports car unit Porsche AG is setting up a joint venture with Customcells to produce high-performance batteries that will significantly reduce charging times, the company said on Sunday.

The partnership with Customcells, a company in southern Germany specialising in lithium-ion cells, will aim to produce car batteries with higher energy density than prototypes used in Porsche's current electric cars, the company said in a statement.

European carmakers are pushing to reduce their dependence on Asia for batteries as they roll out all-electric models to meet stricter emissions targets in the European Union.

In addition to cutting charging time, improving energy density will mean reducing the amount of raw material needed in batteries to achieve the same range. It will also cut battery production costs, making electric cars more affordable.

Porsche said it will invest a high double-digit million euro sum in the joint venture in which it will hold 80%.

The production facility aims to have a capacity of 100 kilowatt hours, which will translate into about enough batteries for 1,000 cars a year.

Porsche Chief Executive Oliver Blume said in April the company wanted to speed up its e-mobility drive with plans for a German factory in Tuebingen to manufacture battery cells. At that time he did not say if Porsche would seek a joint venture partner.

Customcells is based in Tuebingen.

Porsche's parent company Volkswagen has said it plans to build half a dozen battery cell plants across Europe and expand infrastructure for charging electric vehicles globally.

(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Mark Potter and William Mallard)

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