Volvo Car Group intends to establish a joint venture with leading Swedish battery company Northvolt to develop and produce more sustainable batteries, tailored to power the next generation of pure electric Volvo and Polestar cars. As a first step for the 50/50 joint venture, the two companies aim to set up a research and development centre in Sweden that will begin operations in 2022.
The centre will build on the battery expertise within both companies and develop next-generation, state-of-the-art battery cells and vehicle integration technologies.
The planned joint venture will also establish a new gigafactory in Europe with a potential capacity of up to 50 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year. Production is scheduled to start in 2026.
The new gigafactory, planned to be powered by 100 percent 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’s XC60 model.
As part of the plans, Volvo is also looking to source 15 GWh of battery cells per year from the existing Northvolt Ett battery plant in Skellefteå, Sweden starting in 2024.
Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive at Volvo Car Group, says, “By working with Northvolt we will secure a supply of high-quality, more sustainable battery cells for our pure electric cars”. Working closely with Northvolt will also allow us to strengthen our in-house development capabilities.”
Henrik Green, chief technology officer at Volvo Cars, comments, “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.”