Scania, a member of the Volkswagen Group, and Northvolt, a 2016 startup building a European Gigafactory (planned 32 GWh annual capacity) for Li-ion batteries (earlier post), have agreed to develop and commercialize battery cell technology for heavy commercial vehicles. Scania is investing €10 million (US$12.5 million) in the partnership to enhance further development and support the establishment of Northvolt’s demonstration line and research facility.
The two companies will establish an expert team and work together at Northvolt’s research facility, Northvolt Labs, in Västerås, Sweden, to develop and commercialise production of battery cells optimized to power commercial vehicles. The companies have also entered into an off-take purchase agreement for battery cells.
Vehicle electrification is rapidly advancing; for heavy trucks and buses, continued development of both charging infrastructure as well as more robust, cost efficient and sustainable battery cells is crucially needed for a widespread market breakthrough in commercially viable electrification.
Different transport application will require different electric powertrains. For optimal effect, battery and cell technologies must therefore be developed to support varying needs.
We aim to make it easy for customers to select sustainable transport solutions. Electrification will play a key part in the shift to a fossil free transport system. However, the current battery cell technology must be developed to fulfil the business requirements of heavy bus and truck customers. With Northvolt as a partner, we believe that we can make major strides forward.—Henrik Henriksson, Scania’s President and CEO
With Scania’s product and business expertise combined with our cutting-edge manufacturing process, we are convinced that we can produce cost efficient and green battery cells of the highest quality for the heavy commercial vehicle market.—Peter Carlsson, Co-Founder and CEO of Northvolt
Production of battery cells is energy-intensive and Sweden offers a solid supply of cost-effective green energy. The country is therefore well suited for large-scale sustainable battery production. Northvolt is building the next generation battery factory in the city of Skellefteå in the north of Sweden with the objective to produce high-quality green batteries, with a minimal carbon footprint and the highest ambitions for recycling.
This partnership is one of several strategic initiatives in Scania’s ambition to drive the shift toward a sustainable transport system. At Busworld 2017 in Kortrijk, Belgium, Scania unveiled the hybrid Scania Interlink Low Decker and the battery-electric Scania Citywide bus. (Earlier post.)