Better late than never. It is paradoxical that despite the indisputable specific weight that European manufacturers have in the global automotive industry, it is not yet producing batteries on this continent. no fully European company. But, finally, this very important lack of the productive fabric linked to the European electric car is about to vanish.
Northvolt, the first fully European manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles, has just started up. This company was founded four years ago by two engineers who shortly before were working in the Tesla factory in Fremont (California). Peter Carlsson, who is Swedish, and Paolo Cerruti, Italian, shared the vision that Europe should have the capacity to produce your own batteries. And they got down to work.
His initiative got off to a good start. At the beginning of 2018, and only a few months after its founding, Northvolt received a loan from 52.5 million euros from the Investment Bank and backed by an over-wealthy Europe that seemed to be beginning to realize that it was missing a train that it could not afford to miss. In a scenario in which electric vehicles are called in the medium term to act as the heart of the automobile industry, batteries have enormous strategic importance.
With Tesla, Panasonic, CATL and LG Chem in the spotlight
The Carlsson and Cerruti project quickly caught the attention of Volkswagen, which saw in this emerging company the opportunity to lead a broader initiative promoting the creation of an industrial fabric capable of supplying European brands with their own batteries. The European Union of Batteries, and saw the light with a very clear purpose: to solve in the medium term the loss of competitiveness of European electric vehicles.
The battery accounts for approximately 40% of the cost of an electric car, and the need to import the cells causes European brands to lose competitiveness
The battery hogs approximately 40% of the cost of an electric car. Making it cheaper so that many more people can get hold of one in the future necessarily requires drastically cutting the price of this component, and the need to import batteries from Asia has so far placed European manufacturers at a clear disadvantage against to your competitors.
The importation of the cells carries an extra cost, especially in the current context of relative scarcity of raw materials, so that inevitably European manufacturers lose competitiveness. Fortunately, several large battery factories are already projected on European soil and with a European firm, such as, for example, that of Italvolt in Italy, or the project led by Power Electronics and participated by Ford that should conclude with the start-up of a battery gigafactory in the Valencian Community.
In any case, Northvolt was the first fully European company to reach the goal, considering that a battery manufacturer reaches this milestone when it is in the position of start cell production. Just two days ago, last Tuesday, it left one of the production lines that this company has in its factory in Skellefteå, a town located in the extreme north of Sweden, the first cell designed and manufactured entirely in Europe.
Northvolt has signed $ 30 billion in contracts with Volkswagen, BMW, Volvo and Scania, among other manufacturers
Northvolt’s plans are quite ambitious. During part of 2022, its new factory will have to continue carrying out production tests, scaling and quality validation, but even so, the executives of this company have ensured that they will deliver their first orders during the year that we are about to start. In fact, they have already signed contracts worth $ 30 billion with Volkswagen, BMW, Volvo and Scania, among other electric vehicle manufacturers.
Initially, its manufacturing capacity will be 8 GWh per year, but gradually and as the new facilities are lubricated, this figure will increase until reaching the 60 GWh per year. In fact, Northvolt is confident that by 2030 it will account for 20-25% of the European market. In the crosshairs of the entire European automotive industry are Tesla, Panasonic, CATL and LG Chem, which are some of the leading battery manufacturers on the planet. The future of the European electric car is at stake.
Via | Reuters
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