Sweden’s Scania and Northvolt are to co-operate in the development of batteries for heavy commercial vehicles
The EV industry is keeping a close watch on Northvolt, the battery start-up keen on building a 32-GWh/year factory in Sweden, as a potential new powerhouse in the European energy storage market.
This week the company announced a partnership with fellow Swedish firm Scania, under which the two will develop and commercialise battery cell technology for heavy commercial vehicles. Scania has said it is to invest 10 million euros (US$12.5 million) in the partnership, which will assist Northvolt in building its demonstration line and research facility.
Northvolt held several funding rounds in 2017, and has received backing from utility Vattenfall as well as ABB, who will supply equipment and expertise to its factory in Skellefteå, in northern Sweden. Total investment for the planned factory is estimated at around 4 billion euros, and if the company breaks ground on the plant in 2018, it could deliver its first cells by late 2020.
According to NorthVolt, cells would be produced with a view to supplying transport, stationary grid storage and industrial applications.
Scania and Northvolt will establish a joint team which will work together at Northvolt’s research facilityin Västerås, Sweden. The companies have also entered into an off-take purchase agreement for battery cells.
“We aim to make it easy for customers to select sustainable transport solutions. Electrification will play a key part in the shift to a fossil free transport system. However, the current battery cell technology must be developed to fulfil the business requirements of heavy bus and truck customers. With Northvolt as a partner, we believe that we can make major strides forward,” said Scania president and CEO Henrik Henriksson.
Northvolt CEO Peter Carlsson – a former VP of supply chain at Tesla – added: “With Scania’s product and business expertise combined with our cutting-edge manufacturing process, we are convinced that we can produce cost efficient and green battery cells of the highest quality for the heavy commercial vehicle market,” says Peter Carlsson, Co-Founder and CEO of Northvolt.
As well as electric and hydrogen bus projects, Scania has already been dabbling with electrification in the form of an electrified road project in Sweden, which uses a catenary system to electrically power diesel-hybrid Scania trucks. Dubbed the eHighway, designer Siemens is working on a similar pilot with Volvo in California.