To develop and produce more sustainable batteries tailored to power the next generation of pure electric Volvo and Polestar cars, Volvo Car Group is working on establishing a joint venture with leading Swedish battery company Northvolt.
As a first step for the 50/50 joint venture, Volvo Car Group and Northvolt plan to set up a research and development centre in Sweden that will begin operations in 2022. The partnership and joint venture are subject to final negotiation and agreements between the parties, including board approval.
The objective is 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.
The proposed joint venture will also establish a new gigafactory in Europe with a potential capacity of up to 50-gigawatt hours (GWh) per year. The production is scheduled to start in 2026, Volvo Car Group said.
The new gigafactory, planned to be powered by 100% clean energy, is expected to employ around 3,000 people. 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.
Initially, as part of the plans, Volvo Car Group will source 15 GWh of battery cells per year from the existing Northvolt Ett battery plant in Skellefteå, Sweden, starting in 2024. By working with Northvolt, Volvo Car Group can reduce the environmental footprint attributable to battery sourcing and production for its future cars.
Alongside previously announced battery supply agreements, a partnership with Northvolt will secure the European battery cell needs that will drive Volvo Cars’ electrification plans. It may be recalled that the carmaker has announced that it will sell 50% pure electric cars by the middle of this decade, and by 2030 it aims to sell only fully electric cars.
Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars, said, “Developing the next generation of battery cell technology in-house, together with Northvolt, will allow us to design batteries specifically for Volvo and Polestar drivers. With cells developed in-house for our electric cars, we can focus on giving Volvo and Polestar customers what they want, such as range and short charging times.”