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The first battery cell produced at the Northvolt Ett gigafactory, Source: Northvolt

The first battery gigafactory in Europe is already operational

The first battery gigafactory in Europe is already operational

Located in Skellefteå, in northern Sweden, it promises a new industrial chapter for the continent

On 28 December, the commissioning of the Northvolt Ett gigafactory in Skellefteå, northern Sweden led to the assembly of the first lithium-ion battery cell there. This is notable because it makes the cell in question the first to have been fully designed, developed and assembled at a gigafactory by a homegrown European battery company. The implications of this are various, chief among which is that it can shorten the supply chain for this sustainable component necessary for new mobility and reduce the reliance on production in Asia.

Milestone to remember

Northvolt has been working towards this since the gigafactory was first announced in 2017. The cell is of a prismatic cell format and came off the cell assembly line on 28 December. Commissioning and upscaling of the factory will continue into 2022 when the first commercial customer deliveries will be made.

Peter Carlsson, CEO and Co-Founder of the company, said: “Today is a great milestone for Northvolt which the team has worked very hard to achieve. Of course, this first cell is only the beginning. Over the course of the coming years, we look forward to Northvolt Ett expanding its production capacity greatly to enable the European transition to clean energy.”

In the coming years, production capacity at Northvolt Ett will increase towards 60 GWh per year to fulfil over 30 billion dollars worth of contracts secured from key customers, including BMW, Fluence, Scania, Volkswagen, Volvo Cars and Polestar. 

Earlier this month, it also became clear that Northvolt plans to develop a lithium processing plant in Portugal to meet the growing demand for this metal by electric car companies. The plan is to build a facility with an annual production capacity of 35,000 metric tonnes of lithium hydroxide, which would cover the demand for 700,000 electric vehicles.

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