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Industry service for electric mobility
Updated: 12 hours 24 min ago

Tesla to receive royal approval?

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 12:00

Prince Charles says he is looking to add more electric cars to the royal fleet, but seems to be torn between Tesla and Jaguar so far. His Royal Highness has met with Elon Musk’s brother Kimbal and tested a Model X on the occasion.

The current royal fleet also includes three Rolls-Royces, three Daimlers and two Bentleys, and several Volkswagen support vehicles. However, with JLR holding a royal warrant and both princes having taken an electric Jaguar for a public spin before, we believe we can see who may win this race for England’s figurehead family.

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UK leaders call for moving ICE ban forward to 2030

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 18:19

In a call to action, the Mayor of London and cross-party leaders will urge the British government to end pure diesel and petrol sales in 2030, ten years earlier than planned. Together they are representing around 20m people from across England and Wales.

The call will be specified on an air quality summit this Wednesday, instigated by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, UK100 and IPPR. Conservative Environment Secretary MP Michael Gove joins other parties to urge Westminster to bring forward current plans to phase out the vehicles from 2040 to 2030.

Together, the city leaders will reiterate their commitment to working together to reduce emissions and tackle pollution. In addition to taking action in their own areas, this will include an enhanced Clean Air Fund from government and manufacturers that will support Clean Air Zones, a targeted national vehicle renewal scheme to replace older polluting vehicles, and a Clean Air Act that sets strict air quality limits.

The current conservative government had to lose in court twice to finally draft the Clean Air Plan. In its latest form, it still does not include a scrappage scheme nor immediate clean air zones.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan had been repeatedly calling for both, thus seeking federal funding for plans to clean up the air in the British capital. The latest decision in this regard will see the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North and South Circular boundary in 2021. The new ULEZ will cover an area 18 times larger than the ULEZ in Central London. The latter is being delivered in April 2019, 17 months earlier than planned (we reported).

Recently measures to ban sales of fossil-fuel powered vehicles have been largely progressed on the municipal level.

Rome for example plans to ban private diesel vehicles from the historical centre as of 2024  (we reported).

In France, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is spearheading a movement for cleaner air and has discussed various measures, including free public transport similar to Brussels’ air pollution emergency plan. Even an ICE ban has been decided already as Paris is part of the C40 initiative of cities fighting climate change and pledged to say “adieu” to combustion-powered cars by 2030. Diesel engine cars are likely to be banned even earlier, before the start of the Olympic Games in 2024 (we reported).

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How to get to the FIFA World Cup in a Tesla electric car

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 16:58

Football fans travelling to the World Cup in Moscow in a Tesla car may now go all the way thanks to an initiative of Russian Tesla (and football) fans. They set up two charging stations at hotels along the route through Eastern Europe.

While the Russian EV charging network is still woefully underdeveloped, the Moscow Tesla club has gotten together to enable range-angst-free travel towards the East. In an email, they described their effort as follows:

“The first charger is located in Vyazma (230 km / 143 miles from Moscow), and the second one in Smolensk (400 km / 248 miles). Next charge may be performed in Belarus with a wide net of chargers located there.”

Their initiative resembles a similar one at the other end of the world. In Australia, Tesla owners had taken it unto themselves as well to set up a charging corridor with more remote locations in mind. The Round Australia Electric Highway spans about 17,000km. Charging outlets are on average 200 kilometres apart and never more than 400 km (we reported).

While Tesla has recently reached the milestone of having installed 10,000 Superchargers worldwide, some areas remain underdeveloped when it comes to electric car charging infrastructure.

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New hybrid top class for Le Mans; fuel cell racers in 2024

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 16:38

The FIA World Endurance Championship will deepen their focus on top-notch hybrid technology. ACO and FIA plan to introduce a new class for 2020 – 2024. Moreover, a special class at 24 hours in Le Mans in 2024 will introduce fuel cell racers.

The Automobile Club De L’Ouest (ACO) and Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) will introduce a whole new class for the FIA World Endurance Championship for 2020-2024.

The prototypes will retain a hybrid system while manufacturers may opt for a combustion engine at a predetermined and fixed cost. The name of the new class has yet to be chosen and will be put to the public to vote.

Moreover, the endurance race Le Mans will introduce hydrogen fuel cell technology in 2024. A working group is already in place and includes various partners such as seven automotive multinationals. They are involved in setting down the conditions required for the creation of this class.

Our guess is that Toyota is surely among those carmakers due to both their advances in hydrogen technology as well as their active involvement in Le Mans. Last weekend, their hybrid racer scored victory for the first time, when the Toyota TS050 Hybrid won the 24 hours race. Drivers Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima took turns behind the steering wheel of the hybrid race car. (new classes), (Le Mans 2018)

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Japan’s industry join forces to beat China to solid-state batteries

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 15:40

Japan’s mayor carmakers, Toyota, Nissan and Honda are joining forces to work on solid-state batteries for electric cars. Also Panasonic is part of the consortium consisting of 23 firms in total. They aim to commercialise solid-state batteries in the early 2020ies.

With Japan losing their ground as the world’s largest battery makers to relative newcomers such as CATL or BYD from China, the race is on for the next big jump in battery technology.

Panasonic and Toyota among others bet that solid-state batteries will mean all the difference when moving beyond current lithium technology. They are joined in this belief by 23 players in Japan that have formed a consortium. The alliance is led by New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, or NEDO. NEDO previously engaged in solid-state battery research primarily with materials makers.

The research management group of the new consortium set a target date of 2022 for the core technologies to be ready for market. In the long term, the project aims to lower cost for solid-state batteries to 10,000-yen ($90) per kilowatt-hour by around 2030. That is about one-third the cost for existing lithium-ion batteries.

Nikkei reports that Japanese companies hold an advantage in solid-state batteries. “A majority of patent applications on all-solid batteries are from Japanese companies,” Kei Hosoi, the NEDO project manager told Nikkei.

Panasonic was quick to add a competitive note. “As a battery maker, we cannot afford to let overseas rivals beat us in all-solid batteries,” said Eiji Fujii, a Panasonic executive officer in charge of resource and energy research.

A recent report from SNE Research had concluded that Panasonic managed to keep its top position in 2017 but its market share plummeted from 31.4 percent to 21.1 percent. This resulted in a new ranking of Panasonic, CATL and BYD as the world’s top 3 battery makers in that order and Panasonic’s market share is projected to fall even further this year.

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Magna expanding electric car production to China

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 15:10

Magna is en route to make it big in China as the supplier is preparing the launch of two joint ventures with BAIC. Together they want to develop new energy vehicles and Magna stands ready to take over an existing BAIC facility that builds 180,000 EVs a year.

Automotive supplier Magna International with head quarters in Canada counts clients of the likes of BMW or Jaguar Land Rover to their portfolio and now the Canadians want to expand to China to build electric cars there.

Their chosen partner is BAIC and they plan no less than two joint ventures to jointly engineer and build premium electric vehicles for the domestic market.

For Magna, it is the first time they are expanding their operations beyond their manufacturing traditionally set in the Austrian town of Graz. Says Don Walker, CEO of Magna International: “These joint venture operations mark an historic milestone for Magna. For the first time we will be providing our customers with cars engineered and built outside our complete vehicle manufacturing facility in Graz, Austria.”

The contract has already been signed with BAIC subsidiary BJEV in Nanjing. Over the coming months, Magna and BJEV will work with authorities to implement legally binding joint-venture agreements.

The engineering and manufacturing joint ventures are expected to take over an existing BAIC manufacturing facility in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province. The first production NEVs are scheduled to roll off the lines in 2020. The plant has the capacity to build up to 180,000 electric vehicles per year.

Plans of the cooperation had made headlines already in April, when BAIC and Magna announced they will jointly develop a next-gen electric vehicle architecture for the Chinese market. It is expected that this vehicle architecture will be transferred to the engineering joint venture and will form the platform of the new electric vehicles to be launched in the joint venture.,

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Italy: Toyota’s hybrid car sharing YUKÕ launches in Venice

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 14:47

Toyota Europe expand their car sharing offer Yuko which deploys only hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars. The service is now coming to Venice with a fleet of 49 cars ranging from the Yaris Hybrid to the Prius PHEV that can be rented as part of the city’s public transit.

YUKÕ means “Let’s go” in Japanese and so far, Toyota Europe had launched their car club with hybrid cars in Dublin and the Italian town of Forli in late 2016 (we reported). It took the Jaanese almost two years to expand the offer.

Venice has just become the second city in Italy, where citizens and tourist may hire a hybrid or PHEV. For Toyota it is the third Yuko launch in Europe.

49 cars, among them the “barrier-free” Toyota Proace Verso as well as the top of the line Prius plug-in hybrid have become available.

Rental options include both a free floating (YUKÕ Way) as well as a station based service (YUKÕ One).

Users may register online. Moreover, Toyota has teamed up with Venice for their hybrid car sharing to be included in the ‘Venezia Unica’, Venice’s official City Pass, allowing customers to easily switch between public and private transport to enhance multimodality.

The hybrid cars also benefit from privileges such as free access to the traffic restricted areas and to paid parking areas particularly scarce in Venice.,

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Scotland launches subsidy scheme for electric bikes

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 13:55

The Scottish government wants to start an e-bike revolution as it allocates more than a million pounds in funding for electric bicycles and pedal-assist cargo bikes. The money will be made available in form of loans and grants.

Scotland’s government wants to encourage more people to swing a leg or two using an electric bike or cargo pedelec, particularly on shorter journeys. For this they have earmarked no less than 1.3 million pounds to become available to citizens, businesses and public sector organisations.

Says Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing: “We want more people, who undertake shorter journeys, to leave their cars at home and go by bike for the benefit of their health and our environment.”

The Low Carbon Transport Loan Fund will have £500,000 available for interest-free loans of up to £3,000 to help individuals and businesses purchase e-bikes and e-cargo bikes.

The E-bike Grant Fund will allocate £700,000 for local authorities, public sector agencies, community organisations, colleges and universities to encourage large scale e-bike adoption. It is expected grants will fund e-bike pools, secure cycle parking and safety equipment.

A further £100,000 will be available through the E-bike Grant Fund to let members of the public test ride e-bikes at Home Energy Scotland advice centres, active travel hubs and community centres.

A few countries have started to include electric bicycles or light electric vehicles (LEVs) in their subsidy policies lately. Among them is Sweden that plans to earmark up to 35 million a year for LEVs, including electric quads and trikes reportedly.
Austria also included e-bikes as well as pedelec rental system in their Mission2030 policy paper and funds electric two-wheelers with up to 750 euros.
Also in Paris electric bikes have been included in Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s decision to enable Parisians to get to work with zero emissions. Those wanting to buy a pedelec or electric cargo bikes in Paris may expect 400 and 600 euros respectively.,

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Renault-Nissan pull the plug on fuel cell cars

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 13:34

The alliance of Daimler, Ford and Renault-Nissan working on commercialising a fuel cell car has hit a road block as Renault-Nissan pull out. The partners had aimed to develop shared components but now decided to focus on electric cars first.

Still their involvement in R&D of hydrogen technology will continue despite the alliance of the carmakers from Europe, the U.S. and Japan based in British Columbia having entered a dead end.

Renault-Nissan’s latest decision follows the consensus among Daimler and Ford to dissolve the partnership. They had failed the initial target of introducing a serial FCV in 2017.

While Renault and Nissan want to pour their resources into battery-electric cars for now, they are still expected to cooperate with Daimler and Ford on fuel cell project. Concrete details were not disclosed for now.

The last statement from Ford and Daimler read in this regard: “Both companies will continue to explore ways to cooperate on developing fuel cell stack modules.” Ford‘s plans “will take fuel cell stack development in-house, as well as leverage the supply base,” while Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche indicated earlier this year that the company will focus more on battery-electric vehicles.

This leaves Toyota and potentially Hyundai as the leader in the field. Japan in particular has been proactive with policies advancing hydrogen infrastructure. According to the state’s ‘Strategic Road Map for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells’ the country’s aim is to set up 160 stations and to have 20,000 FCEVs on the streets by 2020 reportedly.

China however recently announced their plan to advance hydrogen and fuel cell technology as well (we reported).

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First Performance Model 3 with AWD rolls off lines

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 13:11

The production lines at Tesla’s Fremont factory have rolled out the first Performance Model 3, weeks ahead of schedule. This is the first good news for the EV maker in some time and brings them closer to much desired profits.

“Amazing work by Tesla team” – thus starts Elon Musk’s latest tweet. A change in tone entirely after the Tesla CEO had last been seen taking to Twitter to lay off 1 in 10 employees (we reported).

The remaining ones however have been working hard it appears. They rebuilt the lines in Tesla’s Fremont facility to accommodate for the making of the Model 3 performance version with dual motor set up. Tweets Musk: “Built entire new general assembly line in 3 weeks w minimal resources.” Initially Tesla had planned for the first Model 3 of the new variants to arrive in July.

It is this new assembly line that is to bring Tesla closer to their target of making 5,000 Model 3 per week. Once that is reached, the electric car maker may start turning a profit for the first time, our recent analysis suggests. For now, all lines are churning out about 3,500 electric vehicles a week according to Musk.

He also announced that the Model 3 Performance cars will receive priority in deliveries due to their higher profit margin. The Performance variant, capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, sits at the top of the line with a carbon fibre spoiler, 20-inch wheels and a black and white interior that includes the highly-anticipated white seat trim. Complete with all options except Autopilot, it costs 78,000 dollars.

The AWD Model 3 can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. That compares to the rear-wheel-drive version’s 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds. Tesla is listing the same top speed (140 mph) and range (310 miles) as the single motor long-range version of the Model 3.,

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DP/DHL to build StreetScooter vans for 2 more years

Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:54

The StreetScooter saga at Deutsche Post continues after the former leader Jürgen Gerdes got laid off last week. Head of the board, Frank Appel now gave an outlook for the electric van making business, saying DP/DHL would consider selling the production.

While chief Frank Appel told the FAZ paper that the SteetScooter was a “very good story” he also said that Deutsche Post does not want to continue StreetScooter production forever but for the “next two years at least”.

Appel added that options such as opening up to the stock market or getting strategic investors or even partners on board are being discussed as well. Rumours of floating the StreetScooter business publicly in order to collect one billion euros for further expansion had been heard already back in April.

Still, the decision to start building electric vehicles in house had been taken out of need as no mayor carmaker was willing to built such electric vans for Deutsche Post back then. Since then, the story of StreetScooter has become indeed one of success. They just opened a second facility in Düren reportedly. Together the two factories have a production capacity of 20,000 electric vans per year, that is 46 electric vehicles a day. This also enables StreetScooter to supply third parties with electric vans as well and has established their existing cooperation with Ford for distributing larger vans.

Therefore, DP/DHL aims for the StreetScooter business and Corporate Incubator division to return a profit by 2020 and the target does not seem too far off.

Taking over the electric van business at DP/DHL is Thomas Ogilvie reportedly for now. He will be in charge of the Corporate Incubations unit, which focuses on mobility solutions, digital platforms and automatisation, and particularly on strengthening their StreetScooter business. (original source, in German)

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TU Braunschweig and Tongji University join forces for battery research

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 20:11

The two universities want to jointly develop a standard for battery safety as part of the German government funded BaSS project. Together they will develop safety standards for individual cells, cell connections and complete storage systems.

The project is being funded by the German ministry for education and research with one million euros. Titled Battery Safety Standardization (BaSS), the project aims to reduce battery component size for more efficient electric transportation, as well as safety issues.

The Nail Penetration Test will play another focal role, where a local short circuit is simulated on pouch circuits to test chain reactions resulting from the released exothermic energy of the cell failure. Different cell configurations will be tested to find to ultimately determine a new safety certification standard. (in German)

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BASF wants to improve cathode material efficiency

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:37

BASF has announced their plan to improve cathode material efficiency, in order to help drive e-mobility forward. The focus will lie on the chemical makeup, form and structure, as well as the manufacturing process.

The goal of the project is  to improve the real range of a middle class vehicle from around 300 km to 600 km, as well as double the battery life. They also plan to halve the size of batteries, as well as shorten the charging time to 15 minutes.

In modern electric vehicles, most rely on lithium-ion batteries. One of the most critical components of the batteries are cathode materials. At least, according to BASF, they determine the efficiency, reliability, costs, life duration and size of the battery. “Cathode active materials by BASF make battery cells more powerful, more reliable and more affordable. They offer the biggest opportunities for improved performance at lower costs. This is the area where chemistry has the biggest lever for innovation and value generation,” said Martin Brudermüller, CTO of BASF.

The BASF battery material lineup includes nickel-cobalt-aluminum oxide (NCA) and nickel-cobalt-manganese oxide (NCM). They also leverage their academic network for electrochemistry and batteries, to develop new and improved materials.  The company is cooperating with the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) and the Batteries and Electrochemistry Laboratory. Together with academic institutions and private partners, BASF is running several research initiatives for battery technology, some of which are funded by the ministry for education and research, as well as the ministry for economy and technology.

In North America, BASF has also been working on driving key technologies for e-mobility forward. The US company Sion Power announced in February, that they planned to begin producing licerion batteries with lithium metal anodes at the end of this year in cooperation with BASF. The batteries will be used for EVs and drones. The announced joint venture with Toda America was also recently founded. BASF Toda America (BTA) will produce and sell NCM and NCA cathode materials.

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Guangdong to electrify bus fleet

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 16:13

The southern Chinese province of Guangdong has decided to entirely bank on electric buses: A new legal guideline by the regional government stipulates that all buses in the cities Guangzhou and Zhuhai will have to be replaced by electric buses by the end of this year.

All other cities in the Pearl River Delta will have to electrify at least 85% of their city bus fleets by 2020. The city Shenzhen in the same province already has more than 16,000 electric buses on the roads.

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CHAdeMO 2.0 allows for charging up to 400 kW

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 15:51

The CHAdeMO Association has released the announced protocol version CHAdeMO 2.0 for their members. The system allows for charging capacities up to 400 kW, and allows for charging up to 1,000 volts with liquid-cooled cables without changing plugs or via current collectors.

This is a response from the association to the changing requirements for charging capacities. The Japanese DC charging system will now also reportedly become competitive with the development.

CHAdeMO 2.0 also opens the door to fast charging for larger electric vehicles, such as trucks and buses. The main benefit compared to the CCS system remains: The Japanese DC charging system will remain V2G capable. Furthermore, the new CHAdeMO technology is compatible with Plug-and-Charge functionalities, allowing for automated authentication and payment.,

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UPS orders another 950 e-transporters from Workhorse

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 15:40

The cooperation between UPS and the US manufacturer Workhorse to develop new electric delivery vehicles, which initially planned for a fleet of 50 vehicles, is picking up speed.

Duane Hughes, the head of Workhorse, stated that UPS will be purchasing another 950 electric delivery vehicles, which feature 60 kW batteries and a range of 160 km.

UPS did include an option to bail out of the contract, should the vehicles not perform as expected, added Hughes. A UPS spokesperson did confirm the deal, but did not comment on the details.

The fully electric delivery vehicles cost about as much as a conventional truck, and due to the lower operational costs, UPS is calculating with savings per vehicle of around 170,000 dollars over 20 years. The first vehicles will take up testing in Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles this year. The results will be evaluated as of next year, and will decide whether the rest of the fleet will follow suit.

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Daimler and Solaris deliver 30 electric buses to Berlin

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 15:26

After the expiry of the consideration period, the BVG has announced who will receive the contract for the 30 electric buses. As expected, Daimler and the Polish manufacturer Solaris received the contract.

Daimler will be delivering 15 of their Mercedes E-Citaro buses, while Solaris is providing 15 New Urbino 12 Electric buses. The first vehicles are scheduled to arrive in the German capital by early 2019. The contract is worth about 18 million euros in total.

The buses of both manufacturers are 12 m long and have space for up to 70 passengers. The buses will be charged over night at the bus depot, and will be deployed along the 142, 147, 194 and 240 bus lines, alternating with diesel buses.

The purchase of another 30 electric buses is already being prepared for 2019. This order will focus on the 18 m articulated buses, with a double-digit investment in the millions ready.,, (All in German)

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Ikea to deliver emissions-free as of 2025

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 15:09

The Swedish furniture manufacturer has announced ambitious goals for their sustainability strategy for 2030. The goal is to electrify 25% of deliveries by 2020, and to completely electrify the delivery fleet by 2025.

The company is also searching for solutions to decrease emissions from the personal vehicles of customers and employees. The deliveries alone make for 25% of the emissions produced by the company, making for a serious dent in their ecological footprint.

That the company is serious about changing their climate impact was further underlined by the move to join the e-mobility initiative EV100 last September. A few days later, Ikea followed up with the announcement to electrify their entire vehicle fleet. In France, an electric car sharing platform was also set up, furthering Ikea’s service line-up.

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Renault opens concept store in Berlin

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:57

Renault has now opened a concept store for electric vehicles in Berlin. The 145 square meter Electric Vehicle Experience Center of the Renault subsidiary König is the second of its kind in Europe.

The store follows the opening of the first of its kind in Stockholm, which opened in February of this year. The idea behind the store is to create a more direct dialogue with consumers and answer questions surrounding electric mobility in an urban environment.

On a specially designed digital experience, visitors can learn about the practical benefits of electric mobility, as well as look at mobility solutions that fit their personal needs. Next to the Renault vehicles, there is information regarding infrastructure, different charging technologies as well as regional laws and mobility options. Furthermore, visitors will be able to test-drive the Renault EVs. The store is of course also staffed with sales representatives, who can assist customers with orders and further information., (PDF) (Both in German)

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Northvolt lowers cost estimate for battery factory

Sat, 06/16/2018 - 14:40

Northvolt has lowered the estimated cost for their planned battery factory in Sweden. The company founded by former Tesla manager Peter Carlsson has stated that they will spend “considerably less” than the initially stated 4 billion euros on the factory.

The announcement was made by COO Paolo Cerruti, without mentioned new numbers, however. The reason for the reassessment was that Northvolt had found ways to increase productivity, while decreasing resource and energy expenditure.

Furthermore, Northvolt is also looking for new investors. This may prove more difficult than expected though; The battery manufacturer is under increasing pressure from Chinese competition, who have already established the technical know-how, supply chains and relationships to vehicle manufacturers, making for lower margins and high risk. For example, it was recently announced that CATL will be establishing a battery manufacturing facility in the German Erfurt. The factory will supply Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW, PSA and Renault-Nissan with battery cells.

In the first financing round, Northvolt was able to reach their goal of 80 to 100 million euros, but it took longer than expected. Although partners ABB and Scania both invested 10 million euros, and the Swedish energy company Energimyndigheten added 15 million to the pot, the largest financial boost came from the European Investment Bank with the Swedish government with 52.2 million euros.

The financing round was saved by the addition of Siemens, who added another 10 million euros, as well as listing the company as a preferred supplier. A few days ago, the Swedish battery manufacturers also received official permission for the construction and operation of the planned lithium-ion battery cell factory.

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