The Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt is planning to set up its own cell production in Germany. However, the plans are apparently still at a very early stage, and possible locations are not yet known.
Apparently, the region where the cell production could be located has not even been decided yet. However, the plans have been confirmed at the highest level: “We are in talks with several federal states about the possibility of building a factory in Germany,” Northvolt CEO Peter Carlsson told Automobilwoche.
Germany has already agreed to support the project as a project of common European interest. According to the commitment made in the framework of the second battery IPCEI, Northvolt wants to support the development of a competitive European value chain for batteries. Already at that time it was said that the Swedes would examine the possibility of building a battery factory in Germany.
Despite the negotiations, Carlsson says there is no guarantee that they will locate in Germany. “There are already major challenges there, especially in terms of energy supply,” the manager said. For the plants in Sweden, Northvolt uses cheap electricity from hydropower. “We are currently investigating how we can solve this problem. Because we definitely want to meet the same standards of sustainability as in Sweden.”
The location decision could therefore not only be made on the basis of financial criteria such as possible subsidy amounts, but could also be justified with the green power supply. According to Carlsson, this is an advantage of northern Sweden. “As a result, we not only create a very small carbon footprint, but we could also produce at very favourable costs” says the Northvolt CEO. “That is the business model we are now implementing.”
Northvolt has long been a project partner of Volkswagen for the development of battery cell production in Salzgitter – the project and the Wolfsburg-based company’s entry was already announced in 2019. As part of Volkswagen’s ‘Power Day’ in March, it was announced that the car company would operate the battery cell factory in Salzgitter, originally planned together with Northvolt, on its own. At the time, German media reported with reference to group insiders that VW had come to the conclusion that the young Swedish company was overburdened with the simultaneous construction of a factory in Sweden and should better concentrate on this one.
As part of this deal, Volkswagen had invested a further 620 million US dollars (around 500 million euros) in Northvolt at the beginning of June. There are apparently no plans to participate in any of the other VW gigafactories that have been announced. “At the moment we are in agreement with VW that we will first concentrate on implementing the project in Skellefteå,” Carlsson said.
For its part, Northvolt announced a joint venture with Volvo Car Group for battery cell development and production at the end of June. There is also an agreement with BMW.
automobilwoche.de (in German)