Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller in Shanghai, China April 18, 2017. Picture taken April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) top management expects further disputes with labor leaders on cost savings as it pushes an efficiency drive to help fund a post-dieselgate strategic shift, its chief executive said.

“Our path is undoubtedly challenging, it causes friction and sometimes even conflict,” VW group Chief Executive Matthias Mueller said at the annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

“But all those involved are clearly aware of what’s at stake.”

Separately, Mueller said Volkswagen (VW) was holding intensive talks with possible partners in Europe and China on battery cells, without being more specific. VW will soon disclose more details, he said.

The carmaker is pondering production of battery cells at a new research facility in Salzgitter, Germany as it plans to triple investment in electric drives to about 9 billion euros ($9.80 billion) through 2022.

($1 = 0.9182 euros)

(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan)