Swedish company Northvolt announced on December 29 that it has produced its first cell of lithium-ion batteries, making it the first domestic manufacturer on the continent to compete with global companies for the production of batteries to power increasingly sought-after electric vehicles, according to Radio Free Europe.

European design and product

Northvolt plans to deliver its first lithium-ion battery cell to electric vehicle companies next year, writes Volstrit džurnal, and transfers Radio Free Europe.

The battery was manufactured on Tuesday, December 28, in Northvolt Eti in the northern Swedish town of Skeleftea. According to the paper, Northvolt Et began construction in 2019 and is the first European-owned factory to produce on a so-called gigafactory scale.

The company emphasized that the gigafabrika produced a battery that was completely designed, developed and assembled in the first domestic European company for the production of batteries for electric cars.

The market is currently dominated by Asian manufacturers, who, according to the Wall Street Journal, have built or are building factories in Europe to supply batteries to local car companies, as demand for electric cars grows.

Europeans, encouraged by generous government incentives for customers, the paper points out, are buying electric cars at record speeds, helping the continent surpass China as the world’s largest electric vehicle market.

Power supply for a million vehicles

Northvolt stated that production capacities will increase to 60 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in the coming years, which is enough to supply batteries for about a million electric vehicles, he points out. CNBC.

The Northvolta Gigafactory, estimated by investors at $ 12 billion in June, can be classified as a large-scale battery factory where, according to the American television channel, annual production is measured in gigawatt-hours (GWh).

Although less than six years old, Northwolt has signed contracts worth more than $ 30 billion with customers, including major carmakers BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo and Polestar.

The company has raised more than $ 6.5 billion from a multitude of investors to help it expand its business, including Goldman Sachs Bank, Swedish and Canadian pension funds, and Spotify’s founder, Swedish billionaire Daniel Eck. Germany’s Volkswagen, which has $ 14 billion in orders, is Northvolt’s largest shareholder with a 20 percent stake.

Competitors from other continents

Founded by two former Tesla managers, Northwolt is the most prominent in a series of European start-ups trying to position themselves against the biggest Asian players and Tesla in the production of batteries used for electric cars, he points out. Financial Times.

The first cell in Northwolt Et, a gigafactory about 200 km south of the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden, uses a large amount of renewable hydroelectric energy to produce battery cells as sustainably as possible, and also hopes to use mineral deposits in the north of the Nordic region. .

According to the London paper, Gigafabrika will use 1.5 percent of the total electricity production in Sweden when it is completed. Northvolt Et, which employs more than 500 people, is expected to eventually have 3,000 workers and will be able to provide 150 GWh of cumulative storage per year by the end of the decade.

The Swedish start-up told the Financial Times this year that it no longer looks only at Europe, but also at Asia and North America as it seeks to become a significant competitor to Japan’s Panasonic, China’s CATL and South Korea’s LG, SK and Samsung.

Asian groups are increasingly targeting the European market, and LG and CATL are expected to open battery factories in Poland and Germany next year, while SK will expand its factory in Hungary. Sweden’s Northvolt also plans to build two more gigafactories in Europe, including one in Germany, and is currently building a gigafactory with Volvo.

Transition to clean energy

Swedish plant boosts lithium-ion cell production in race to profit from growing demand for electric cars in Europe, he wrote The Guardian noting that electric vehicles accounted for almost a fifth of all car purchases in the UK last month.

Only two large battery factories operate in Europe, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a plant in Wroclaw, Poland, run by Korea’s LG, and another owned by Korea’s Samsung near Budapest, Hungary.

However, they point out from BMI, by the end of 2030, the construction of 25 gigafactories across Europe is planned, while the industry is racing to keep up with the growing demand for electric cars. Nine of them are owned by Asian manufacturers who control most of the global supply.

At the same time, the Guardian adds, carmakers are belatedly increasing production of electric vehicles to meet increasingly stringent emissions targets, and as a challenge to their US rival Tesla, which has built its own battery and car factory in Berlin.

Peter Carlson, CEO and co-founder of Northvolt, said that the production of lithium-ion batteries in Sweden was a “major milestone” and that the company was looking forward to expanding production capacity to “enable Europe’s transition to clean energy”.

E2 portal (Radio Free Europe, N1)

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