Volvo CE to add battery plant at its largest site in Korea

Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is investing SEK 80 mn (about €7.1 mn) into battery pack production at its excavator plant in Changwon, South Korea. This is another signal that Volvo is gearing to decarbonise the construction industry.

The Volvo plant in Changwon is the biggest excavator factory in Volvo CE’s production network and manufactures more than half of the company’s global output. While a large electric excavator is still missing, at least as a serial vehicle, Changwon has already made experience in a pilot project. Moreover, Volvo CE offers compact electric excavators to the global market with the ECR25 Electric, ECR18 Electric, EC18 Electric and the mid-size EC230. Together with its compact electric wheel loaders, Volvo CE has one of the largest electric ranges out there, so the company.

So that’s enough reason to build out Changwon into a core competence centre for electric excavators, writes Volvo CE. The investment announced today will help to add an approximately 2,500-square-metre facility that will produce various battery packs for the Volvo Group. Construction work will begin in April 2023, with battery pack production scheduled to start in June 2024.

This will also be a likely time for Volvo CE to launch a large electric excavator. The current demonstrator, the 22-ton EC230 Electric, is currently being tested by customers in South Korea and China. Volvo CE wants to be able to bring the product to series maturity and commercialise it more quickly once the customer feedback is in.

Andy Knight, Head of Operations Excavator and Managing Director of Volvo Group Korea, finds Changwon “ideally located close to battery module supply partners and other key suppliers in South Korea to meet customers’ needs in the future. We are also home to a highly skilled and motivated workforce who are fully committed to meeting our future environmental targets.”

For its heavy electric trucks, for example, the Volvo Group uses battery cells from the South Korean manufacturer Samsung SDI.

“This investment is an important milestone in our electrification roadmap and supports our recent investments in production facilities for electric excavators,” added Knight.

Indeed, the company is also investing in its e-mobility activities in Europe: Volvo CE had already announced multi-million investments in producing electric wheel loaders, haulers and articulated dumpers in Sweden at the end of January. Volvo CE wants to be “completely free of fossil fuels” by 2040. As an interim goal on this path, the company wants 35% of machine sales to be electric by 2030.


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