Five years since first announcing its ambitions, Northvolt has commenced commercial deliveries to European automotive customers from its first battery gigafactory, Northvolt Ett. As production ramps up, Northvolt Ett will begin to make a meaningful difference to the speed and nature of Europe’s shift to a cleaner future. Here’s how.
A gigafactory comes online
Europe’s first homegrown gigafactory has entered commercial operations and is now delivering to customers at the forefront of the transition to electric vehicles. Construction at Northvolt Ett began in October 2019 and the factory's first delivery of lithium-ion battery cells to a leading European car maker was made in May 2022. Between these events the industrial landscape within which the gigafactory fits has evolved at a breathless pace.
Seeking to enable the future of energy for industry, what has remained unchanged is our determination to establish a sustainable supply of high-performance batteries for Europe. It’s an ambition which motivated the great speed at which Northvolt Ett was developed, constructed and brought online, but also influenced decisions over the gigafactory’s design and environmental footprint.
With one production block online today and additional ones being brought online, Northvolt Ett will ramp to a total capacity of 60 GWh – a supply of cells sufficient to power some one million electric vehicles per year.
As we ramp up, increasingly large volumes of cells will be leaving the factory every week for shipment to a growing number of customers from the automotive industry and beyond.
A new Tier One supplier
For decades, the global lithium-ion battery industry has been dominated by a small collection of Chinese, Japanese and Korean companies. As a newcomer with ambitious plans for sustainable manufacturing of batteries, it was into this market which we entered.
The delivery of commercial volumes from Northvolt Ett therefore represents a milestone on our journey – one that is marked by Northvolt becoming the first European company to be ranked by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence as a Tier One battery producer.
Northvolt becomes the first European Tier One battery company
Caspar Rawles, Chief Data Officer at Benchmark comments. “With commercial deliveries commencing in Q2 2022, Benchmark has upgraded Northvolt to Benchmark Tier 1 status of lithium-ion battery cell producers for the automotive industry.”
“Benchmark assigns each producer into three tiers based our three Qs: quality, quantity and qualification. Northvolt’s addition means the industry now has nine tier one lithium-ion battery producers.”
Key to developing cells to meet customer specifications has been Northvolt Labs in Västerås, Sweden. Serving in its role as a platform for cell industrialization for over two years now, it is at Northvolt Labs where cells now being produced in northern Sweden were designed, developed and validated in collaboration with our customers.
Enabling a more sustainable transition
What is plain to see at Northvolt Ett is the positive impacts of a strategy that prioritizes sustainability.
Life Cycle Assessment indicates that cells produced at Northvolt Ett will carry a carbon footprint which is approximately one third that of a comparable industry reference cell – 33kg CO2e/kWh compared to 98kg. This major reduction – largely the result of Northvolt Ett being powered with a supply of 100% hydropower and wind power – is encouraging. Still, the journey continues to carry Northvolt forward to its goal of 10kg CO2e/kWh by 2030. (A more detailed review of LCA findings is presented in Northvolt Sustainability Report 2021.)
It is in the demonstration of a more sustainable approach to battery manufacturing which Northvolt Ett will make its most meaningful mark on the industry. But entering a new chapter with the start of commercial deliveries, Northvolt Ett is already today contributing directly to Europe’s shift to a cleaner future.