Volvo Car Group is to establish a joint venture (JV) with Swedish battery company Northvolt for the development and production of sustainable batteries to power the next generation of Volvo and Polestar fully electric vehicles.
To start, the pair aims to set up an R&D facility in Sweden, with operations expected to begin in 2022. The facility will gather the combined battery knowledge of both companies as they seek to develop and produce state-of-the-art battery cells and vehicle integration technology.
Alongside this, the duo is to establish a gigafactory in Europe with a potential production capacity of up to 50GWh annually. The exact location is yet to be announced. With plans for it to be powered by 100% clean energy, the gigafactory will employ roughly 3,000 people. Production is expected to begin in 2026, and the first battery developed will be used in the electric successor to Volvo’s XC60. Furthermore, 15GWh of battery cells per year will be directly sourced from the existing Northvolt Ett battery plant in Skellefteå, Sweden, beginning in 2024.
The partnership with Northvolt will secure sustainable battery cells and strengthen Volvo’s global position as it pushes forward with its plans for electrification. By 2025 Volvo aims to sell 50% purely electric cars, and by 2030, 100% pure electric.
“By working with Northvolt we will secure a supply of high-quality, more sustainable battery cells for our pure electric cars,” commented Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive, Volvo Car Group. “Working closely with Northvolt will also allow us to strengthen our in-house development capabilities.”
Working alongside Northvolt, Volvo hopes to produce batteries much nearer to its manufacturing facilities in Europe to reduce the environmental footprint of battery sourcing and the overall carbon footprint of its cars produced in the future.
“Volvo Cars and Polestar are industry leaders in the transition to electrification and perfect partners on the journey ahead as we aim to develop and produce the world’s most sustainable battery cells,” said Peter Carlsson, co-founder, and CEO, Northvolt. “We are proud to become their exclusive battery cell production partner in Europe.”
For Polestar, the JV will enable further European growth and strengthen the company’s commitments to the Polestar 0 project, as it aims to create a climate-neutral vehicle by 2030.
“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,” explained Henrik Green, chief technology officer, Volvo Cars. “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.”