Volvo to build battery factory able to power 500,000 cars a year

The Polestar 2 on show in Geneva in 2019 (Alexander Migl/CC BY-SA 4.0)
Swedish carmaker Volvo has announced plans to build a battery-making gigafactory, together with a research and development centre next year.

Operated in conjunction with battery company Northvolt, the facilities are part of Volvo’s $4.6bn electrification strategy, which are aimed at cutting petrol and diesel cars to half of its output by 2025 and eliminating them altogether by 2030.

Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive for Volvo Cars, said the Northvolt partnership “secures the supply of high-quality, sustainably-produced batteries for the next generation of pure electric Volvos”.

Work on the factory will begin in 2023, with production to follow in 2026, at which point the factory expects to employ some 3,000 people. No exact location or country has been chosen yet for the battery factory. The R&D centre will be completed in Volvo’s home city of Gothenburg next year.

The move will give the company a plant with a production capacity of 50GWh a year, compared with 20GWh at Tesla’s original gigafactory in Nevada. This will be enough to power around 500,000 vehicles.

Volvo said the R&D centre would create “a few hundred jobs”.

It said the investment would make it “one of the few automotive brands to make battery cell development and production part of its end-to-end engineering capabilities”.

Other manufacturers to go into end-to-end battery solutions include Volkswagen with its gigafactory in Germany, and BMW, which also has an agreement with Northvolt.

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