Earlier this year, we reported on Northvolt, a startup founded by Tesla’s former Vice President of Supply Chain Management, Peter Carlsson, and another former Tesla supply chain executive, Paolo Cerruti, to build their own battery gigafactory in Europe.
After launching their fundraising effort to finance the factory last month, they are now bringing on board an important partner, ABB, a giant Swiss company developing electrification products and industrial automation systems.
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ABB and Northvolt announced today that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the former to supply systems for the battery factory and invest in the “initial phase” of the project.
Ulrich Spiesshofer, ABB’s CEO, commented on the announcement:
“We are excited to support Northvolt’s project to build the battery factory of the future here in one of our home countries. This uniquely integrated factory would be a true showcase for ABB’s leadership in industrial automation and smart electrification and would help to meet the ever-increasing demand for smarter, greener storage solutions.”
ABB will help NorthVolt build a demonstration-line to be ready by 2019 and the startup will be able to continuously optimize products and processes using ABB’s industrial automation products and services. The factory is expected to start production in 2020.
As we previously reported, they target a capacity of 8 GWh per year in 2020 and they aim for 32 GWh of capacity once the entire factory will be completed in 2023.
It’s expected to be the biggest battery factory in Europe and comparable in capacity to the current phase of Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada.
Peter Carlsson, CEO of Northvolt, commented on today’s announcement:
“The world is moving quickly towards electrification. We want to enable this transition by building the largest, cutting-edge lithium-ion battery factory on the European continent and producing the world’s greenest batteries. ABB is at the forefront of the electrification, and we are delighted to have them on-board as strategic partner, key supplier and investor.”
They plan to manufacture both prismatic and cylindrical cells as pictured above.
Northvolt is starting to look promising. The company’s leadership definitely has interesting experiences building supply chains, which is a big part of large-scale battery manufacturing and where there’s room for optimization.
Now they need the money. Tesla expects to spend about $4 billion to get its first Gigafactory to full production and Northvolt will need an investment on a similar scale, which is hard to get for a brand new company.
But they already got a significant seed investment from Vattenfall, Sweden’s largest electric utility, and now having ABB as a partner is a major boost to their credibility.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.