June 24, 2021

Automotive: Swedish Northvolt raises 2.3 billion for its batteries, unprecedented in Europe

Northvolt, the European electric car battery champion, was not a start-up for a long time. But the Swedish group took another step forward, Wednesday, by formalizing a gigantic round of funding of 2.75 billion dollars (2.3 billion euros), in particular with Goldman Sachs and Volkswagen. The eighth in its history and the largest ever produced by a private company in Europe, according to Dealroom.

$ 2.75 billion … The scale of funding is still far from the record of the fintech founded by Jack Ma, Ant Financial ($ 14 billion in 2018), but it is approaching the giant rounds of the ” Chinese Uber ”Didi Chuxing ($ 5.5 billion), WeWork (4.4 billion) or Uber itself (3.5 billion). Nothing like this in any case on the Old Continent, where the previous record dated from two weeks ago, with the 1.4 billion dollars raised by the British group Constellation Automotive Group.

A mega fundraiser for a “giga factory”

An amount quickly erased by Northvolt, therefore, which has accumulated 6.5 billion dollars in financing since its beginnings in 2016 (including 1.6 billion in debt) and which will devote the sums raised to its Skelleftea plant, in the north of the Sweden. There, not far from the Arctic Circle, the young company is working on a small feat: to build its own “giga factory” of battery cells and to become the first European company to produce this central component of electrified vehicles on the continent.

The capacity of the “Northvolt Ett” plant (Northvolt 1), which is to begin delivering its first units by the end of the year, will be increased from 40 GWh to 60 GWh, the firm said in a press release. Enough to equip more than 1.1 million cars per year, almost double the Tesla “giga factory” in Nevada (35 GWh) The manufacturer led by Elon Musk is not left out, however, since its other plant in Berlin , whose production date has not yet been determined, should eventually reach a capacity of 250 GWh for the battery cells.

Northvolt is aiming for a target of 150 GWh of annual production capacity in Europe by 2030. It plans to “build at least two additional gigantic factories in Europe over the next decade, and is actively exploring the opportunity. to build the next one in Germany, ”the statement said.

Volkswagen, shareholder and first customer

The manufacturer has already ventured across the Rhine, where it has started construction of a standard cell factory in Salzgitter, alongside Volkswagen. The manufacturer finally bought all the shares but did not stop the cooperation with Northvolt, far from it: it has held 20% of Swedish since June 2019, when it invested some 900 million euros.

The Wolfsburg group, which at the start of the year had huge ambitions in the electric car, also participated in the last round of funding, to the tune of 500 million euros – its stake in Northvolt remains unchanged. Above all, it ranks first among Swedish customers with more than half of the order book, with $ 14 billion of “premium” cells out of a total of $ 27 billion.

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