Northvolt became the first European start-up to design and produce a battery in a gigantic factory on the continent while the Swedish group’s subarctic factory started up a few days before the New Year’s deadline.
Supported by major industrial groups such as Volkswagen, BMW, Volvo Cars and Ikea, Northvolt is the largest in a series of European competitors who are trying to win against the biggest Asian players and Tesla in batteries, used for electric cars and more.
Northvolt Ett’s first cell, its gigantic Skelleftea plant, 200 km south of the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden, was produced on Tuesday evening, the company said on Wednesday.
“This first cell is just the beginning. Over the next few years, we look forward to Northvolt Ett significantly increasing its generation capacity to enable the European transition to clean energy, ”said Peter Carlsson, Managing Director and Co-Founder.
Founded by two former Tesla executives, Northvolt enjoys the backing of some of Sweden’s biggest economic players, including Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and start-up Cristina Stenbeck, as well as Scania and Goldman Sachs.
He uses Sweden’s large amount of renewable hydroelectric power in the north to produce battery cells as sustainably as possible and also hopes to exploit mineral deposits in the north of the Nordic region. The gigafactory will use 1.5 percent of Sweden’s total electricity production when completed, while a nearby green steel project could consume up to a third of current capacity.
Northvolt Ett, which employs more than 500 people but will eventually have 3,000 workers, is expected to produce 60 gigawatt hours of batteries per year at full capacity, enough to power 1 million electric cars.
Northvolt was valued at $ 12 billion when it was last raised in June, and in total it has $ 30 billion in orders, mostly from automakers. Germany’s Volkswagen, which has $ 14 billion in orders, is Northvolt’s largest shareholder with a 20% stake.
The Swedish start-up told the Financial Times this year that it is no longer just looking at Europe, but also Asia and North America as it seeks to become a major competitor for Japan’s Panasonic, the Chinese CATL and South Korean LG, SK. Group and Samsung.
Asian groups are increasingly targeting the European market with LG and CATL slated to open battery factories next year in Poland and Germany respectively while SK will expand its Hungarian factory.
Northvolt is just one of many European start-ups trying to supply traditional European carmakers with no less than three projects in neighboring Norway, though the country’s energy authorities have warned that there could be no – not be enough electricity for all the factories given the plans for green hydrogen. as well as the electrification of oil platforms.
Commercial deliveries to Northvolt’s Skelleftea plant will begin next year while the plant’s capacity upgrade will take several years. Northvolt is targeting an annual production of 150 GWh by the end of the decade and is looking to build two more gigafactories in Europe, including one possibly in Germany. It is also building a gigafactory with Volvo.