Swedish battery group Northvolt announced on Wednesday that it had started construction of a “gigafactory” in Sweden, the first of its kind to be undertaken by a European company on the continent.
Intended to compete with the American Tesla and Asian producers of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, the plant located in Skelleftea in northern Sweden assembled its first electric cell “last night”, said Northvolt in a statement.
Once at full capacity, the site is expected to produce enough batteries to power one million electric vehicles per year, with an annual production capacity of 60 gigawatt hours (GWh), according to the firm.
“Today is a big milestone for Northvolt that the team worked very hard to achieve. Of course, this first airframe is just the start. Over the coming years, we look forward to Northvolt Ett expanding significantly. its production capacity to enable the European transition to clean energy, ”said Northvolt.
Tesla is due to launch its first plant in Europe shortly and its Asian rivals have significant operations in Poland and Hungary, but no European company has yet operated a significant facility so far.
Northvolt, one of Europe’s main hopes for batteries, has already secured orders worth 30 billion dollars (26.5 billion euros) from European car giants, including the German BMW and Volkswagen, and the Swedish Volvo , with whom he plans a second European factory.
The new plant, nicknamed “Northvolt Ett” (Northvolt One) in Swedish, already employs 500 people and will likely employ up to 3,000 once it reaches full capacity.
The Swedish company, which has already raised funds of several billion euros, was founded in 2016 by the Swede Peter Carlsson and the Italian Paolo Cerruti, both former employees of Tesla.
Its known shareholders are Volkswagen, Goldman Sachs, BMW, Nordic funds and, since 2020, the founder of Spotify, Swedish billionaire Daniel Ek.
In addition to private funding, Northvolt has also benefited from European loans, as the region is catching up on its production capacity for electric vehicles.
Faced with China, which dominates the market, Europe accounted for only 3% of the world production of battery cells in 2020, but aims to corner 25% of the market by the end of the decade, with several openings of planned factories.
This story was posted from an agency feed with no text editing. Only the title has been changed.
Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint. Download our app now !!