Volvo in Drive Towards Sustainable Battery Production

Volvo is upping the ante on its vehicle production processes by entering a joint venture to build its own batteries for EVs.

The automaker says it will team up with Swedish battery company Northvolt to develop and produce more sustainable batteries. As a first step for the 50/50 joint venture, both companies aim to set up a research and development center in Sweden that will begin operations in 2022. This joint venture will also establish a new gigafactory in Europe with a potential capacity of up to 50 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year. Production is scheduled to start in 2026. As part of the plans, the automaker also looks to source 15 GWh of battery cells annually from the existing Northvolt Ett battery plant in Skellefteå, Sweden, starting in 2024.

The companies acknowledge that production of batteries for BEVS represents a large part of the car’s total lifecycle carbon emissions. By working with Northvolt and producing batteries near its manufacturing facilities in Europe, Volvo hopes to reduce the environmental footprint attributable to battery sourcing and production for its future cars.

The new gigafactory, planned to be powered by 100% clean energy, is expected to employ around 3,000 people. The location of the new plant is yet to be decided. The first car to feature battery cells developed through the joint venture will be the electric successor to Volvo Cars’ best-selling XC60 model.

Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive at Volvo Car Group, said: “By working with Northvolt we will secure a supply of high-quality, more sustainable battery cells for our pure electric cars. Working closely with Northvolt will also allow us to strengthen our in-house development capabilities.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *