Volkswagen’s Swedish commercial vehicle brand Scania has apparently signed a contract with the Swedish company Northvolt to supply battery cells for electric vehicles. The supply volume of the contract is not known.
Referring to Scania CEO Henrik Henriksson, Reuters reported that the VW subsidiary is also discussing financial participation in Northvolt. Further details have not yet become public.
Chief Executive Henrik Henriksson told Reuters, “There will be a shortage of batteries for the automotive sector globally in the coming five to six years because there’s simply not enough capacity. So the more capacity we can get our hands on, the better we feel.”
Northvolt apparently became a favourite option for Scania because of Northvolt’s business model of developing cells in collaboration with customers. This means they can create batteries specifically for trucks, rather than relying on current models geared towards cars. Henriksson said electric cars tended to draw on their batteries for “a couple of hours a day, while our vehicles are running 24/7” meaning that batteries need to be tailored to different needs.
The startup Northvolt, led by former Tesla manager Peter Carlsson, is planning to build a battery cell plant in Skellefteå, Sweden. By the middle of the year, the company intends to have generated around 1.6 billion out of a total of four billion euros for the construction of the production facility. As Reuters reports, referring to earlier information from Northvolt, the company has already sold about half of its planned 32-gigawatt capacity by 2023.
Meanwhile, Scania’s mother company, Volkswagen, made public yesterday evening that it would take battery cell production into its own hands as expected and for its part set up a cell factory in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony. As is well known, VW is striving for a partnership with the South Korean cell manufacturer SK Innovation. But Volkswagen is trying to cover all bases, in addition to SKI, Volkswagen also relies on Northvolt, although the newcomers from Sweden are not yet on the technological level of SKI.
In March the VW Group and Northvolt announced that they would be joining forces with research and industry partners from seven EU member states to launch a consortium called the European Battery Union (EBU). This consortium is to start work at the beginning of 2020. According to VW, the EBU’s activities will concentrate on the entire battery value chain – from raw materials to cell technology and recycling. The primary goal is to build up comprehensive expertise in cell production.