Driving the shift: Scania’s new battery assembly plant

On September 5, Scania opened the doors to their state-of-the-art battery assembly plant in Södertälje, Sweden. Together with Northvolt and Scania’s jointly developed high-performing battery cell for commercial heavy vehicles, this plant will allow Scania to move forward with their electrification plans at a rapid speed.

Since 2017, Northvolt and Scania have shared a close partnership. Driven by the goal of creating a better way forward for transportation solutions, we have worked side by side to develop and innovate the future of battery technology for electric regional long-haul trucks.

This spring, the partnership reached an immense milestone as the Northvolt-Scania battery cell was unveiled. Produced with fossil-free electricity at Northvolt Ett, the cell can power a regional long-haul truck for 1.5 million km. With a carbon footprint approximately one third that of a comparable industry reference, the cell became emblematic of not only our close partnership, but our shared commitment to sustainability.

Scania’s new battery assembly plant

Before being installed into an electric vehicle, battery cells need to be placed into modules and assembled into packs. Some automotive companies outsource this part of the process, or buy the batteries pre-packaged and ready for vehicle installation. Scania has decided to build their own battery assembly, right next to their vehicle chassis line in Södertälje, Sweden.

Inaugurated earlier this month, Scania’s new battery assembly plant will receive Northvolt cells and output battery packs that can be installed directly into an electric truck, on the same site.

According to Tony Persson, Head of Battery Production at Scania: “With the factory up and running, we are now producing our long-awaited electric trucks for regional transportation, which are powered by the battery cells Scania and Northvolt have developed jointly. The start of operations at the factory is truly a watershed moment. The shift to electric is the biggest transformation in the history of heavy-duty transportation, and this year it is ready to accelerate.”

"The shift to electric is the biggest transformation in the history of heavy-duty transportation, and this year it is ready to accelerate.”

And the plant will certainly enable Scania to ramp up their electrification plans and achieve their target of 50% electric sales by 2030. With the capacity to handle one battery cell every second, the highly automated production line will be able to churn out one battery pack every four minutes and run around the clock.

How are the battery packs assembled?

At the plant, Scania assembles battery cells into modules, and modules into packs, which are delivered to the chassis line to be installed on their electric vehicles.

After receiving cell deliveries from Northvolt, the cells are stored in climate-controlled environments for approximately 24 hours before module assembly begins. The battery cells are charged to 30% when they are delivered, but as part of the testing cycle the cells are discharged and recharged, with the excess energy used in operations.

Following testing, 15 to 18 battery cells are clustered together into modules by 38 robots on the fully automated module line, before being arranged into packs along the 50% automated pack production line. Once assembled, the battery packs are transported a short distance to the chassis line which is located on the same site.

The plant has the capacity to handle one battery cell every second

Tony Persson explains that “locating the battery factory adjacent to the chassis line creates conditions for lean production flows.”

Indeed, with the cells being produced at Northvolt Ett, in Northern Sweden, and the battery pack and chassis assembled in Södertälje, Sweden, Northvolt and Scania are demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of local value chains for electric vehicles. With both companies committed to using fossil-free energy in operations, as well as keeping transport distances short, this partnership shows a new way forward for electric vehicle manufacturing.

Now, with the battery assembly plant in place, Scania will proceed to ramp up the production of their electric regional long-haul trucks, following through on their promise to drive the shift towards sustainable transport solutions. Powered by high-performing low-carbon Northvolt cells, these trucks will be a game-changer for long-haul transportation.

Read more about Scania's battery assembly plant here.