Northvolt is closing in finalizing Canadian battery plant

Image: Northvolt

Swedish battery cell manufacturer Northvolt is apparently close to finalising a deal for its planned factory in Canada. According to an agency report, an announcement will follow in the coming weeks. And plans are also progressing at the German factory in Heide.

But first to Canada, where there was already speculation in early May about two concrete locations for a battery factory by the Swedes in the province of Quebec: As Bloomberg reports with reference to insiders, the governments of Canada and Quebec want to grant Northvolt financial aid amounting to billions. Currently, the final details are still being worked out.

According to Bloomberg, Northvolt has chosen a site in Saint-Basile-le-Grand rather than neighbouring McMasterville. The Northvolt plant is to be built about 25 kilometres east of Montreal. In addition to cell production, a cathode factory and a recycling plant are also planned, according to the report.

The company does not confirm this, officially the site search has not yet been completed. “Northvolt is currently doing a site study in North America, analyzing multiple possible locations in the US and Canada,” a spokesperson stated. “This process is still ongoing, and no final investment decision has been made.”

The news agency cites seven billion US dollars as the total investment. It is not yet known what share of this will be covered by the Canadian federal and provincial governments and what form the subsidies will take. Bloomberg has also not published any further information on the planned production capacities on site and the exact schedule.

What is clear, however, is that Northvolt’s decision to locate in Canada is likely to be attractive in two respects. On the one hand, the Canadian government around Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying to attract the promising battery production to the country. The huge VW battery factory in St. Thomas in Ontario will probably be subsidised to the tune of around 14 billion Canadian dollars. Because of this subsidy for VW, Stellantis and LGES are demanding improvements in the subsidies for their battery factory already under construction in Windsor (also Ontario). Northvolt is also likely to be lured with tax money. And since battery cells from Canadian production meet the US requirements of the Inflation Reduction Act, there should be enough buyers throughout North America.

Plans for the Northvolt factory in Germany are also progressing. The Swedish battery manufacturer expects to be able to start building a factory in Heide, Schleswig-Holstein, in the near future. “We are close, not much is missing,” CEO Peter Carlsson told the local newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Northvolt does not want to make an official investment commitment until the EU Commission has approved the application for subsidies from Germany. The review is currently underway.

Carlsson left open whether a decision could be expected by autumn: “We hope for a speedy procedure.” According to Carlsson, Northvolt is also demanding a much faster train connection between Hamburg and Heide from Deutsche Bahn. In addition, he had recently spoken with the Federal Minister of Labour, Hubertus Heil, about qualifications for local skilled workers who are currently still working on combustion technology in the car industry. (Heide in German)


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