Volkswagen has invested US$620 million (about €500 million), in a financing round of its Swedish battery partner Northvolt AB. The Group will thus maintain its stake in the company at approximately 20%. The funds are to be used for capacity expansion in production, recycling and research and development. Among other activities, Northvolt intends to expand the capacity of its Northvolt Ett gigafactory in Skellefteå, Northern Sweden from 40 GWh to 60 GWh per year, in order to meet higher demand from customers.
Arno Antlitz, Group Board Member for Finance and IT said: “With this investment, we are strengthening our strategic partnership with Northvolt as a supplier of sustainable battery cells which are produced using renewable energy and are comprehensively recyclable.”
Technology and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components stated: “Batteries are one of the key success factors in our unprecedented electric offensive. In the major area of green battery cells, we are assuming a pioneering role in Germany and Europe together.”
Volkswagen had already invested about €900 million in Northvolt in June 2019, acquiring about 20% of the shares in the company as well as a seat on the board. The production of Volkswagen premium cells is to be concentrated at Skellefteå in cooperation with Northvolt. Production of these cells is due to start in 2023 and the annual capacity intended for Volkswagen is to be built up step-by-step to as much as 40 GWh.
The second Volkswagen gigafactory is in Salzgitter will produce the standard cell for the volume segment from 2025. It is also expected to reach an annual production volume of up to 40 GWh. Giga factories are to be operated using electric power from renewable energy sources.
All in all, Volkswagen expects to commission six cell factories in Europe by 2030 together with its partners with a view to safeguarding the ramp-up of electric vehicle production. After Skellefteå and Salzgitter, possible locations and partners for the next cell factories are already being considered.