Currently reading: Volvo and Northvolt to build European gigafactory by 2026
Swedish start-up will supply power cells for next-gen Volvo EVs, beginning with electric XC60 in 2024
Autocar-Felix-Page
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2 mins read
21 June 2021

Volvo has detailed plans for a 50:50 joint venture with Swedish battery start-up Northvolt, with the aim of building an EV battery factory in Europe by 2026.

The power units will be used in "the next generation of pure-electric Volvo and Polestar cars", beginning with the successor to today's XC60, which Volvo has now confirmed will be fully electric.

Volvo plans to initially source 15GWh of batteries per year from Northvolt's existing Skellefteå facility from 2024 (when the XC60 EV is expected to be launched) before the new dedicated 'gigafactory' facility goes into service with a targeted annual output of 50GWh. 

Volvo aims for 50% of its global sales to be pure-electric cars by the middle of this decade and will ditch combustion completely from 2030. Polestar, its all-EV sibling brand, plans to build "a truly climate-neutral vehicle" by 2030. 

The car maker says Northvolt's "sustainable battery production" methods will help to reduce the environmental impact of ramping up EV production. 

The new factory, the location of which has yet to be decided, is planned to be powered entirely by renewable energy and will employ 3000 people. 

The joint venture with Volvo will be Northvolt's third with a mainstream passenger car brand. In 2019, Volkswagen took a 20% share in the Stockholm-based firm to build a gigafactory in Germany that is set to begin operations by early 2024, and in 2020, BMW agreed a battery supply deal with Northvolt worth €2 billion (£1.72bn).

Further details on Volvo's EV strategy and battery production plans will be unveiled at its 'Volvo Cars Tech Moment' event on 30 June.

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MkVII Golf GTI 21 June 2021

This likely means that Volvo's electrification efforts sill continue to be middling at best. So far nothing they offer is remotely close to competitive against class leaders like Tesla Model 3/Y in terms of performance and efficiency. The Polestar 2 is nearly 50% less efficient, weighs up to 1200lbs more than a Model 3, and is less potent. Not to mention it charges so much slower and the interior is very cramped. The XC40 and C40 are more of the same since they're riding on the same chassis with the same battery cells and motors. It's also very odd to me that you cannot get a power adjustable steering column on any Volvo sold. That's a standard feature on the cheapest Tesla (and many other cars) yet Volvo hasn't found the need to add it to even 90-series cars. Until Volvo has a brand new EV exclusive platform their offerings will continue to lag behind Tesla, VWAG, Daimler, BMW, Ford, Hyundai/Kia, etc. 

scotty5 21 June 2021

There are certain phrases used throught marketing which I've hated since I was a lad. State-of-the-Art and Futureproof being just two. I understand why marketing use such phrases but how many people stop to think what's actually being said?

Carbon Neutral is another meaningless phrase that's popular but this is a new one on me - Climate-Neutral.  WTF?

So you build a factory, fill it with machinery, built a product using raw materials that have to be sourced and transported, using workers who commute and have to be fed etc.  And the marketing people are having us believe this has no effect whatsoever on the planet we live in?

A near 20year old Volvo XC90 diesel will be more climate-neutral than any new car Volvo or anyone else will ever produce, that's for sure.