Sweden’s Northvolt wants to rival China’s battery dominance to power electric cars

Sweden’s Northvolt, the first homegrown European battery company, aims to challenge China’s current dominance in the global battery industry and make Europe less reliant on Asian supply chains.

Company Vision: Northvolt’s CEO Peter Carlsson stated the firm was created to help ensure Europe’s self-sufficiency in batteries, which he sees as the future of energy.
* The startup received backing from investors including Goldman Sachs, European carmakers Volvo and Volkswagen, enabling it to launch a “gigafactory” in Skelleftea, Sweden for producing lithium-ion batteries.

Challenges & Progress: Despite initial hardships including funding issues, COVID-19, and supply chain problems, Northvolt has made significant strides.
* Construction started on the Northvolt plant in Skelleftea in 2019, though progress has been slower than planned, with only one-third of the facility built so far.
* The operation has been ramping up, with the influx of skilled workers from around the world triggering boom-like conditions in Skelleftea, causing various social challenges like housing shortage and school capacity.

Global Impact: The startup plans to go global, with projected expansions into other parts of Sweden, Poland, Norway, and potentially the United States.
* Northvolt’s plant in Skelleftea is expected to generate around 4,000 jobs, and broader plans for expansion could contribute heavily to Europe and the US’s battery industries.
* The company is working to create sustainable supply chains for raw materials used in batteries, such as lithium and cobalt, in an effort to break China’s grip on these vital resources.

What to watch: The company’s goal is to increase its current production from enough batteries to supply around 15,000 electric vehicles a year to about a million car batteries by the time the Skelleftea plant is fully operational in 2027.
* This ramp-up in production could see Northvolt challenging China’s dominance in the global battery market.

View original article on NPR

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