With a new battery plant in Gothenburg, Sweden, the car manufacturer Volvo and the battery manufacturer Northvolt are accelerating the path to electrification: The new production facility, which will create up to 3000 jobs, is expected to go into operation in 2025 and will complement the planned research and development center that the two Swedish companies announced in December 2021. In total, the partners are investing around 30 billion Swedish crowns (about 2.9 billion euros) in joint battery development and production.
The new battery production and the close cooperation with Northvolt are important building blocks as part of Volvo Cars’ electrification strategy, as the car manufacturer announces: Volvo wants to produce and sell only fully electric vehicles from 2030. The battery cells for the next generation of all-electric Volvo and Polestar models are to be manufactured in the new plant, construction of which will begin in 2023. With a potential production capacity of up to 50 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, high-voltage batteries can be manufactured for around half a million electric vehicles.
Connection to existing infrastructure
The selected location in Gothenburg offers several advantages: In addition to direct access to the largest Volvo plant in Torslanda, the necessary infrastructure, renewable energy supply and qualified specialists are available. The research and development departments of Volvo Cars and Northvolt are also in close proximity.
“Our battery cell partnership with Northvolt is key to our strategic electrification ambitions. We have set ourselves the goal of becoming the leader in the all-electric premium segment. From 2030 we will only sell purely electric vehicles.– Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO Volvo Cars
“The construction of this gigafactory in Gothenburg is a crucial step in further transforming one of the most dynamic automotive regions in the world and becoming the global leader in sustainable batteries,” adds Peter Carlsson, co-founder and CEO of Northvolt. Sustainable production is the foundation of the partnership between Volvo Cars and Northvolt. The new battery plant will therefore be operated exclusively with fossil-free energy – the focus is on renewable energies from the region. Technical solutions should also enable a circular economy and improve resource efficiency.
Battery production accounts for a large part of the CO2 emissions that an electric car causes over its life cycle. By working with Northvolt and producing in close proximity to European manufacturing facilities, Volvo Cars and Polestar aim to significantly reduce their environmental footprint.
“We want to set up a completely climate-neutral production network and secure the supply of high-quality batteries for the years to come. The new battery plant plays a central role in this,” says Javier Varela, Head of Engineering & Operations at Volvo Cars. “Through our partnership with Northvolt, we also benefit from a continuous battery value chain that extends from the raw material to the complete vehicle and ensures optimal integration into our vehicles.”
Development and production in-house
The joint venture agreed between Northvolt and Volvo Cars for battery production is to become one of the largest producers in Europe and thus a significant player in this area. The new production plant will be managed by former Tesla manager Adrian Clarke.
The Research and Development Center, which is to began to take place this year, will create a few more hundred jobs in Gothenburg. This transforms Volvo Cars into an automotive company that makes the development and production of battery cells part of its own technical capabilities.
Tailor-made batteries and options for vehicle integration are to be developed together with Northvolt. The goal: to offer Volvo and Polestar drivers the greatest possible range and short charging times. The vertical integration of battery development and production is of great importance for Volvo Cars and Polestar, as the battery not only accounts for a large part of the carbon footprint, but also represents the largest single item of an electric car in terms of costs.
Highly qualified engineers and team leaders are needed for both the new battery plant and the research and development center. The hiring of technicians and other employees is scheduled to begin in late 2023.
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