Europe’s big push towards electric vehicles just got one step better, as the key battery plant has finally begun production of lithium-ion battery cells. The first cell of Northvolt Ett represents a milestone that company has been working towards since the ‘gigafactory’ was announced in 2017
The cell is of a prismatic cell format and came off the Ett cell assembly line on December 28th 2021. Commissioning and upscaling of the factory will continue through into 2022, when the first commercial customer deliveries will be made.
“Today is a great milestone for Northvolt which the team has worked very hard to achieve. Of course, this first cell is only the beginning. Over the course of the coming years, we look forward to Northvolt Ett expanding its production capacity greatly to enable the European transition to clean energy,” said CEO and Co-Founder of Northvolt, Peter Carlsson.
The battery cell was developed at Northvolt Labs, Västerås, Sweden, which has been in production since early 2020. In the coming years, production capacity at Northvolt Ett will increase towards 60 GWh per year to fulfil over USD30 billion worth of contracts Northvolt has secured from key customers, including Volvo Cars, Volkswagen, BMW, Scania and Polestar.
Sourcing battery packs within Europe has been a major objective for the European automakers, as dependency on overseas plants such as CATL of China and LG Chem of South Korea is believed to generate more greenhouse emissions and ultimately be unsustainable. The European Commission’s key goal is to have a domestic battery supply for EVs in the region that is sustainable, competitive and transparent.
Europe’s largest automaker by market share, Volkswagen Group, targets to have six battery factories with a combined energy value of 240 GWh per year by the end of the decade, with Northvolt being one of the key partners.
Nissan meanwhile has teamed up with Envision AESC to build UK’s first ‘gigafactory’ that is powered by renewable energy. The initial output of the plant is targeted at 7.5 GWh, with plans to grow to 35 GWh in the future.
Apart from new battery packs, Northvolt in November has also started producing its first lithium-ion battery cell with 100% recycled nickel, manganese and cobalt (MNC), targeted for use smaller electromobility vehicles.