Electric vehicles are the quickest, most efficient, and most affordable means of transitioning to clean mobility. Yet the battery cells that will power those vehicles create two significant problems. First, those battery cells are expected to be in short supply, with carmakers dependent on a handful of dominant Asian manufacturers. Additionally, their production is extremely energy-intensive, bequeathing EVs with a substantial “well-to-wheel” carbon footprint when they roll off the assembly line.
In Northvolt, two former Tesla purchasing managers set out to create a European battery cell champion with the scale to compete—because, in the words of cofounder Paolo Cerruti, “either you go big, or you go home” in this industry. To help carmakers lower their CO2 emissions across the entire supply chain, Northvolt will produce its cells exclusively using renewable energy—initially a risky differentiator, since many competitors are relying on cheap electricity from largely coal-fired grids. By the end of the decade Northvolt aims to produce the world’s greenest batteries, manufacturing 150 gigawatt-hours’ worth of cells annually for a 25% share of the European market. The next benchmark: Beginning battery assembly at its first industrial-scale factory, Ett, in Sweden, by year-end. Northvolt recently raised fresh funding to expand the site; the funding round valued the company at roughly $11 billion. While its battery cells haven’t yet appeared in any EVs sold to customers, the company’s test samples from its pilot production site have helped Northvolt secure over $27 billion worth of contracts from customers, and it counts Volkswagen, with 21%, as its largest shareholder. Consumers are likely to be able to buy cars powered by Northvolt’s European batteries no later than 2023.
|No. of employees||Approximately 2,300|
|Investors||Volkswagen, BMW, Goldman Sachs, Baillie Gifford, Vattenfall, ABB, Siemens|