Europe finally has a battery Gigafactory, as Northvolt makes the first Li-ion cells developed on the Old Continent
Northvolt, a Swedish battery startup, has restored European industrial pride when it comes to the ever-growing importance of EV battery production by developing and manufacturing its first Li-ion cells in the Skellefteå, Sweden factory. While this may sound like a rather humble event for, say, the scale and scope of Chinese, Korean, or American EV battery industries, for Europe that's a significant milestone as that's the first unit created and assembled on its soil. Given the ambitious electrification plans that every big European car manufacturer has so far announced, the heavy reliance on Asian battery makers for their fulfilment can stifle the made-in-Europe EV competitiveness from the very beginning.
That is why Northvolt's announcement is of such great importance for European car makers, as it is coming from the first potential battery Gigafactory in Europe. The packs are made with the modern prismatic cell structure, and were developed in the Northvolt Labs in Västerås, Sweden. Northvolt plans to quickly scale up production from here, delivering about 60 GWh a year to its laundry list of clients. The company already has US$30 billion in long-term contracts to fulfil and they include such legacy car industry stalwarts like VW, BMW, Scania, or Volvo, but also electric car companies like the national pride and joy Polestar. According to Peter Carlsson, CEO and Co-Founder of Northvolt:
Today is a great milestone for Northvolt which the team has worked very hard to achieve. Of course, this first cell is only the beginning. Over the course of the coming years, we look forward to Northvolt Ett expanding its production capacity greatly to enable the European transition to clean energy.
Northvolt assembles first lithium-ion battery cell at Swedish gigafactory
Skellefteå, Sweden. Last night, the commissioning of the Northvolt Ett gigafactory in northern Sweden led to the assembly of the first battery cell.
Marking a new chapter in European industrial history, the cell is the first to have been fully designed, developed and assembled at a gigafactory by a homegrown European battery company.
The first cell of Northvolt Ett represents a milestone which Northvolt has been working towards since the gigafactory was announced in 2017. The cell is of a prismatic cell format and came off the cell assembly line on the 28th of December. Commissioning and upscaling of the factory will continue through into 2022, when the first commercial customer deliveries will be made.
Peter Carlsson, CEO and Co-Founder of Northvolt, said: “Today is a great milestone for Northvolt which the team has worked very hard to achieve. Of course, this first cell is only the beginning. Over the course of the coming years, we look forward to Northvolt Ett expanding its production capacity greatly to enable the European transition to clean energy.”
The battery cell was developed at Northvolt Labs, Northvolt’s industrialization factory in Västerås, Sweden, which has been in production since early 2020. In the coming years, production capacity at Northvolt Ett will increase towards 60 GWh per year to fulfill over $30 billion worth of contracts Northvolt has secured from key customers, including BMW, Fluence, Scania, Volkswagen, Volvo Cars and Polestar. To these customers in the automotive, industrial and energy storage sectors, Northvolt Ett will deliver cells of varying formats with commercial deliveries beginning in 2022.
Presently, Northvolt Ett in Skellefteå employs over 500 people, representing 56 nationalities.