Swedish battery manufacturer Northvolt is set to construct its first lithium-ion battery gigafactory for electric vehicles in North America, named Northvolt Six.
The initial investment stands at CA$7 billion (about SEK 56.8 billion). Quebec officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier François Legault, hailed it as the largest private investment in the province’s history. It is a significant addition to the country’s electric vehicle battery manufacturing capacity.
“During the seven years since Northvolt was founded, we have pursued a unique goal. To establish a new, sustainable model for battery manufacturing,” said Peter Carlsson, CEO of Northvolt.
“Today we are expanding our ambitions by taking Northvolt to Canada.”
More About Upcoming Quebec Plant
Northvolt’s mega-factory will span 170 hectares and is planned for construction near Saint-Basile-le-Grand and McMasterville, Quebec. It is located approximately 30 kilometers east of Montreal. The first phase of building the Northvolt Six factory is scheduled to begin this year and is expected to be operational in 2026.
The site will provide an annual capacity of 30 GWh. It is less than Northvolt One in Skellefteå, which is currently set to reach an annual capacity of 60 GWh. Northvolt Drei in Northern Germany also aims for a similar capacity in its plans. However, there’s no specified timeline for the project’s second phase yet, except it is expected to double production.
The project aims to boost Northvolt’s goal of becoming a global player as Western nations reduce their reliance on Chinese EV batteries. It also represents a victory for Canada over the U.S. as President Joe Biden actively promotes the expansion of the electric vehicle sector, as reported by Tech Xplore.
With a factory in North America, Northvolt’s batteries can qualify for the American Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Initially aimed at controlling inflation, this law includes significant investments in green industries. It also offers tax breaks of up to $7,500 for electric car customers.
The Canadian and Quebec governments will each contribute US$1 billion (SEK 10 billion) to the construction of Northvolt’s battery plant, mainly in loans that may be partially forgiven if certain conditions are met. Quebec will also buy a US$420 million equity stake in Northvolt.
The company will also be eligible for combined operating subsidies of up to $4.6 billion over nine years. This deal is similar to the government’s commitments with Ontario’s VW and Stellantis projects.
Construction in Gothenburg Begins
Apart from North America, Northvolt continues to expand its presence in the European market by establishing a joint battery factory in Gothenburg with Volvo Cars.
The project finally received building permission from the Swedish Land and Environment Court this summer, followed by another from the Gothenburg city planning committee.
Gothenburg’s municipal board chairman Jonas Attenius and Novo Energy CEO Adrian Clarke attended the groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on the joint company Novo Energy battery factory.
The plan to build a Novo Energy battery factory was first announced in 2022. After consideration, the two companies chose to build in Torslanda. It is expected to create 3,000 jobs and supplement the planned R&D center announced by both companies in December as part of a SEK 30 billion investment.
“Our battery cell partnership with Northvolt is key to our strategic ambitions in electrification,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars chief executive. “We are committed to becoming a leader in the premium electric car segment and selling only pure electric vehicles by 2030.”
The factory is estimated to be operational by 2025, with the first batteries hitting the shelves in 2026. The factory will symbolize Gothenburg’s automotive industry transition to electric vehicles.
“Novo Energy’s battery factory will become a landmark for the green transition. It combines everything – important technology, modern industry and thousands of jobs with great conditions. This makes Gothenburg better,” said Attenius.
Novo Energy’s battery factory will have an annual capacity of 50 GWh, enough to power 500,000 electric vehicles. Volvo Cars and Polestar will use the batteries produced at the factory.
To reduce the batteries’ climate footprint, the battery factory in Gothenburg will use purified wastewater for cooling and fossil-free electricity from a new transformer station built by Vattenfall and Göteborg Energi.
New Charging Stations in Sweden
To support the widespread adoption of electric vehicles, many charging stations are needed in the country. This is why IKEA is expanding its network of fast and destination chargers at its stores in Sweden.
The plan begins next week, as IKEA opens a new charging station at its Haparanda store. The new station is a significant addition to the town, with only six fast chargers. At the same time, IKEA will open several destination chargers at its department store in the town.
This charging station will be IKEA’s northernmost charging point. It is also one of the largest in northern Sweden. It will have eight fast chargers with an output of 200 kW, with preparation to be expanded to 24.
IKEA is partnering with charging operator Recharge to open the new charging station. Recharge will be responsible for installing, maintaining and operating the chargers. Previously, IKEA has opened similar charging stations in Borlänge, Bäckebol, Örebro and Kalmar.
Tekniska Verken, MSE, Scancia, and Mjölby municipality are also collaborating to build a new charging station. Located at Mjölby Västra traffic station, the charging station will focus on heavy vehicles in Mjölby.
The station, named ChargeLab Mjölby, will be the first charging station in Europe to offer megawatt charging and use the new Megawatt Charging System (MCS) standard, a new charging standard focusing primarily on heavy traffic. This station will be a pilot project for innovation and development in smart grids.
To meet the high power demand of the station, a 4 MWh energy storage system will be installed on-site. This system will relieve the strain on the power grid and provide power to the grid if needed.
These charging stations will add to Sweden’s growing network of EV charging stations. As of August 2022, the number stood at 16,335 public points, according to Sweden’s National Statistics for Electric Cars and Charging Infrastructure. Stockholm has the highest density of EV charging stations in the country, with 16 bays per square kilometer and 3,865 total chargers.