With the rapid expansion of Scania’s electrified range of trucks, buses and engines, the company plans to, over several years, invest more than 1 billion SEK (US$116 million) in a battery assembly plant in Södertälje, Sweden. The initial step is a 18,000-square meter facility and the construction will start early 2021 with the aim to be fully operational by 2023.
The company will also invest US18.4 million (€15.5 million) in a new battery laboratory at its research and development facilities in Södertälje.
This is a tangible manifestation of our determination to take a leading role in heavy vehicle electrification, which is needed to fulfil our commitment to science-based climate targets. Operating an on-site battery assembly plant is a prerequisite for large-scale production of electric vehicles and it also establishes Scania clearly as a part of the battery production value chain.—Ruthger de Vries, Head of Production and Logistics at Scania
The plant, which will be built adjacent to the chassis assembly plant in Södertälje, will assemble battery modules and packs from cells which will be delivered from Northvolt’s battery factory in Skellefteå, Sweden. The assembled packs form battery systems tailored for Scania’s modular production.
Employing a staff of 200, most recruited from within the company, the battery assembly plant will be highly automated from incoming goods throughout production to delivery. Staff handling manual elements of battery module assembly, such as fitting cable harnesses, will be trained in electrical safety and protection.
Battery packs will be tailored for varying applications and delivered to the nearby chassis assembly, which is concurrently being reorganised for parallel assembly of electric and combustion engine vehicles.
Construction of the 1,000-square meter battery laboratory recently commenced and building works will be completed by spring 2021. The laboratory will be fully operative by autumn 2021.The laboratory will contain three 250-square meter test halls for battery cells, modules and packs. Adjacent to these halls, the laboratory will also have facilities for test sample preparation in order to improve work environment, safety and testing uptime.
The laboratory will primarily focus on battery performance and lifespan evaluation in varying climate conditions from -40 °C to 70 °C. Scania’s engineers will examine and identify the best operational conditions for the battery with regard to, for example, temperature setpoint, state of charge window and charging power profile for tailored utilisation in optimising battery life and customer needs.
The new battery laboratory will complement a smaller facility with a climatic chamber for battery pack testing that was taken into use earlier this year. With this lab, Scania can test the performance of battery packs on operational electric trucks and buses without removing batteries. Vehicles are parked adjacent to the lab and connected to testing equipment.
In 2015, Scania started series production of hybrid buses and in 2019 of its first fully electric bus range. This was recently followed by the introduction of Scania’s plug-in hybrid truck and the fully electric truck. Series production of the electric truck starts in 2021. Meanwhile, electrified industrial and marine power solutions are being developed. Scania will now gradually ramp up production, which is centred in Södertälje.