BERLIN, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Germany's largest carmaker Volkswagen announced on Wednesday to invest some 900 million euros (1 billion U.S. dollars) in joint battery activities with Northvolt AB.
According to Volkswagen, part of the sum would be intended for a joint venture with the Swedish battery cell producer, a further share will go directly to Northvolt AB. In return, Volkswagen will acquire about 20 percent of the shares in Northvolt AB and will have one seat on the Board of Directors.
Furthermore, a 50/50 joint venture to build a 16 GWh battery cell factory in Europe is planned during the course of this year. It is intended to locate the factory in Lower Saxony, Germany if the preconditions for this are fulfilled, Volkswagen stated.
Construction of the production facility is scheduled to start in 2020 at the earliest. Battery cell production for Volkswagen is slated to commence around the end of 2023 or beginning of 2024.
"With Northvolt, we have now also found a European partner whose know-how and sustainable, CO2-optimized battery cell production processes will enable us to advance cell production here in Germany," said Stefan Sommer, Volkswagen board member for procurement.
Peter Carlsson, co-founder and CEO of Northvolt, described the deal as a "key moment for Europe that clearly shows that we are ready to compete in the coming wave of electrification, and that we will do so using battery cells which carry the lowest CO2 footprint possible."
With regards to the choice of location, Sommer stressed that "the prerequisite for this is, of course, the creation of the necessary economic framework."
Over the next ten years, Volkswagen intends to produce 22 million fully electric vehicles, increasing the share of electric cars in the entire fleet to at least 40 percent by 2030.
Under its electrification strategy, Volkswagen's annual electricity requirements in Europe alone would be "in excess of 150 GWh" after 2025. The German car manufacturer expects demand to increase on a similar scale in Asia.
Northvolt is a European supplier of sustainable, high-quality battery cells and systems. It is currently setting up pilot production of battery cells and a battery cell production facility with an initial capacity of 16 GWh in Sweden.