When Tesla began building its gigafactory, the company’s fans in the analyst world fawned over it. Now though, it is becoming clear that not only Tesla can have a gigafactory. The much longer established Volkswagen is preparing to build its own gigafactory in Germany. Electrek’s Phil Dzikiy reports:
Northvolt, a battery startup founded by two former Tesla executives, announced a $1 billion equity capital raise for its battery gigafactory in Sweden, in addition to a planned 50/50 joint venture with Volkswagen on another gigafactory in Germany.
The funding, led by Volkswagen Group and Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division, alongside BMW Group, AMF, Folksam Group, and IMAS Foundation, will allow Northvolt to establish manufacturing at its Swedish gigafactory:
With the European Investment Bank and additional lenders set to provide debt financing as a part of the total funding, the establishment of the initial 16 GWh of lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing capacity at the gigafactory, Northvolt Ett, in Sweden is enabled. Building construction will commence in August.
Large-scale production at that gigafactory is expected to start in 2021, and its capacity will eventually expand to 32 GWh, Northvolt said.
In a separate release, Volkswagen announced that it’s investing some €900 million ($1 billion) in joint battery activities with Northvolt. The automaker is acquiring about 20% of Northvolt’s shares, and plans involve a 50/50 joint venture between the two companies on a 16 GWh battery cell gigafactoryin Lower Saxony, Germany.
Construction on that gigafactory would begin in 2020 at the earliest, with battery cell production for Volkswagen starting in late 2023/early 2024, with the ability to increase capacity to 24 GWh later on.
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