Volvo wants to set up a joint venture with Volkswagen’s battery partner Northvolt. With the joint venture, in which Volvo Cars and Northvolt each hold half, both companies want to contribute their experience in high-voltage batteries for cars. Technologies for vehicle integration are also to be developed. It will start working in a research and development center in 2022, as the two partners announced today in Stockholm.
In addition, the companies in Europe want to build a battery cell gigafactory with a battery capacity of up to 50 gigawatt hours per year, in which production is to start in 2026. While Volvo claims that “the location of the battery plant has not yet been determined”, the automaker is already making it clear that the battery cells “will be used in the next all-electric generation of the Volvo XC60, the best-selling Volvo model worldwide”. Volvo wants to generate around half of its sales with electric cars by the middle of the decade, and from 2030 only battery-electric vehicles are to be sold.
The joint venture envisages that from 2024 Volvo will also purchase 15 GWh of battery cells per year from the existing Northvolt Ett battery plant in Skellefteå, Sweden. The VW Group has a fifth stake in Northvolt and recently invested another half a billion euros in the battery company. The plant in Skellefteå is now designed for 60 GWh of batteries per year, 40 GWh of which are intended for Volkswagen.
High-voltage batteries for shorter charging times
Volvo needs the batteries for its own cars and those of the electric luxury brand Polestar, which Volvo operates with its Chinese parent company Geely. A “completely climate-neutral vehicle” is to be created by 2030 under the project name “Polestar 0”. Henrik Green, Head of Technology at Volvo says: “With cells that we have developed ourselves for our electric cars, we can concentrate on our customers’ expectations in terms of range and short charging times.” In Volvo’s short statement there is talk of “high-voltage batteries”.
The new battery gigafactory is to be operated with renewable energies alone and create around 3,000 jobs. Volvo boss Hakan Samuelsson says: “By working with Northvolt we will ensure the supply of high-quality and more sustainable battery cells for our all-electric cars. In addition, the close cooperation with Northvolt also strengthens our internal development capacities”.