Northvolt starts production, from the Swedish plant, the first European battery for electric cars

That Asian monopoly on electric car batteries is over. Northvolt, a brave, prosperous startup from Sweden has opened in the advanced industrial city of Skellefteå in the northern part of the kingdom, the first gigabyte of batteries for electric cars in all of Europe.

On the continent, the demand for electric cars is growing day by day: if the average is already 25% of the total, it is in avant-garde countries like Norway has reached three quarters. But there is, or rather existed until yesterday, the problem of producing batteries for these green vehicles: they were imported from China, Japan or Korea or produced in Eastern Europe by Chinese giants and other Asian countries. Things of the past. After the first implant, to which Guardian has dedicated a long service, Northvolt has started production and expanded the projects: other gig factories follow, in Sweden or always in the EU and with European capitals, and the facility is planned by Elon Musk for its electrical machine factory in northeastern Germany. It is an epoch-making turning point.

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Northvolt – as it counts among its founders Paolo Cerrutti, an Italian engineer with a past in Tesla – think first and foremost of the very ambitious plans of the Swedish premium group Volvo, which one after the other buys back its shares, which were or still are in the hands of the Chinese giant Geely, another sign of independence and distancing from the People’s Republic. But the young people at Northvolt have a long overview and are also thinking about the growing current and future needs of European car giants from Volkswagen to Stellantis, from Mercedes to Renault and BMW.

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The term gigafactory defines in workers’ jargon a plant that is capable of producing enough batteries each year (and assembling electric cars, of course) to produce a total of 15 gigawatts per hour. So far, there are two such plants on the continent, none of which are European-owned: the one in Wroclaw, Poland, is owned by LGs Koreans, while the one in Budapest, Hungary, is in the hands of Samsung. Moreover, their production is not enough and will become smaller and smaller: According to the calculations of both Northvolt and the European car manufacturers that are fully engaged in the electrical sector, at least 25 other gigabytes will be needed in the near or immediate future. In any case, many are planned between now and 2030, the problem is who will build them and who will build more, bigger and more modern. So far, the nine known plans are all by Asian giants.

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The Northvolt Swedes have therefore taken up the challenge and will quickly reach a total annual production of batteries of at least 60 gw per year, just enough to power one million electric cars. Northvolt already has $ 30 billion in contracts with giants such as Volvo, BMW or Volvo’s electric super-luxury brand, Polestar. And with Scania, Volkswagen’s Swedish heavy vehicle brand that designs electric trucks. “It’s the turning point, the milestone. And together only the beginning,” says the Swedish company’s CEO Peter Carlsson. In terms of European expertise and also new jobs. The one who is further behind, happens to be the United Kingdom, which has left the EU.

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