22.6.2021Volvo and Northvolt forming joint venture for sustainable batteries
Volvo Cars is planning to partner with Northvolt, a Swedish battery company, to develop and create more sustainable batteries, which will be tailored to power the next generation of fully electric Volvo and Polestar cars.
Volvo Cars and Northvolt are, as a first step for the 50/50 venture, aiming to set up a research and development centre in Sweden that will begin operations in 2022. The centre is intended to build on the battery expertise within both companies and develop next-generation, state-of-the-art battery cells and vehicle integration technologies specifically developed for use in Volvo and Polestar cars.
Furthermore, the planned 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, Volvo Car Group is also looking to source 15 GWh of battery cells per year from the existing Northvolt Ett battery plant in Skellefteå, Sweden, starting in 2024.
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.”
Alongside previously announced battery supply agreements, a partnership with Northvolt will secure the European battery cell needs that will drive Volvo Cars’ ambitious electrification plans. Volvo Cars aims to sell 50% battery-electric cars (BEV) by the middle of the decade, and by 2030 it aims to sell only BEVs.
Today, the production of batteries for Volvo Car Group’s fully electric vehicles represents a large part of the car’s total lifecycle carbon emissions. By working with Northvolt, a leader in sustainable battery production, and producing batteries near its manufacturing facilities in Europe, Volvo Car Group can 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, although 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.
Peter Carlsson, Co-Founder and CEO of Northvolt, said:
“Volvo Cars and Polestar are industry leaders in the transition to electrification, and perfect partners on the journey ahead as we aim to develop and produce the world’s most sustainable battery cells. We are proud to become their exclusive battery cell production partner in Europe.”
Indeed, the partnership with Northvolt is key to Volvo Cars’ ambition to become a leader in the premium electric car segment and sell only pure-electric vehicles by 2030. It also represents an important step in the expansion of Volvo Car Group’s in-house development capabilities, coupled with partnerships with true technology leaders.
For Polestar, it gives a further boost to its European growth ambitions and underlines its commitment to the Polestar 0 project, which aims to create a truly climate-neutral vehicle by 2030.
Volvo Cars will reveal more details on its future technology roadmap at the Volvo Cars Tech Moment, to be held on 30 June. The partnership and joint venture are subject to final negotiation and agreements between the parties, including board approval.