The company developing an electric vehicle lithium-ion battery “gigafactory” in Sweden, Northvolt, has just announced the establishment of a new partnership with the municipalities of Skellefteå and Västerås.
As those reading this may recall, a final decision on the location of Northvolt’s facilities had been expected soon, with numerous sites in Sweden and Finland having been under consideration.
The final decision, though, has actually ended with the project being split between the manufacturing plant and primary research + development sites. The factory is headed to Skellefteå, and the main R&D operations will be based out of Västerås.
“This is the ideal operational set up for Northvolt. It meets the fundamental requirements for a large-scale battery factory, such as access to energy, infrastructure and skilled labour. It will also enable us to leverage a world-class electrification cluster to develop green and cost-efficient batteries together with our customers and partners,” stated Peter Carlsson, Founder and CEO of Northvolt.
The press release explains the reasoning for this decision: “Skellefteå is part of a raw material and mining cluster in the north of Sweden and has a long history of process manufacturing and recycling. Skellefteå will be the location of Northvolt’s first large-scale lithium-ion battery factory and will serve as the main production site, which includes active material preparation, cell assembly, recycling and auxiliaries. The factory will employ 2,000-2,500 people.
“Västerås has a strong standing within energy and electrification. It is home to several multinational companies, including ABB, with world class engineering and R&D competence in electrification and process optimization. Northvolt will establish its R&D facility in Västerås, including a demonstration line which will be used to qualify and industrialize products and processes. The Västerås operations will employ 300-400 people.”
As it stands, the second half of 2018 is expected to see construction work begin on Northvolt’s new manufacturing plant. By 2020, the factory is expected to be producing 8 gigawatt-hours (GWh) worth of batteries (¼ complete at that point), and by 2023, the factory is expected to be producing 32 GWh worth of batteries a year (fully completed).
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