Europe tools up as a car battery force against Asia and the US
Surrounded by a forest, 126 miles south of the Arctic circle, a huge electric battery factory takes shape on a place as big as 73 football pitches.
The project will be under the name of gigafactory, which is a term made up by Tesla CEO Elon Musk for describing his first high-volume plant for lithium-ion electric battery cell production in the Nevada desert.
Startup Northvolt is in Skellefteå, which two Tesla executives co-found. The location is much chillier than in northern Sweden.
But from here, it is planning to produce a quarter of Europe’s electric batteries because the demand for electric vehicles surges in the global race for cutting carbon emissions.
According to the latest forecast by the bank UBS, by 2030, 44% of new cars sold will be electric, rising to almost 100% of the car market by 2040.
As the plant’s manager Fredrik Hedlund says, if we look at the automotive manufacturers’ schedule to make those electric cars, the number of cells we need to access will be huge.
Although various imposing grey buildings will have much equipment installed and everything will be in place for production to start by the end of 2021.
Northvolt plans to make enough batteries to power almost 300,500 electric cars per year. The company has already received a $15bn order from Volkswagen to produce batteries for the next ten years. It has plans for a long-term partnership with a Swedish company called Scania, which makes trucks and buses.
Mr. Hedlund said they are building a new industry that hasn’t existed at this scale, especially in Europe. He added that in his opinion, this is the most fantastic project in Europe at this moment.
In northern Sweden, hasn’t been such a project since miners struck gold 100 years ago. However, for Northvolt, water is the region’s most valuable asset now. So, the manufacturer searches to make the world’s greenest battery by ensuring its production techniques are as climate-friendly as its product.
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