Sweden has been a strong player in automotive battery market. With strong growth in the electric vehicle market, Swedish battery makers are setting their sights much higher. Here is a look at how Sweden is becoming a bigger player in the global EV arena.
VW plans EV battery gigafactory
Northvolt is a Swedish supplier of sustainable, high quality battery cells and systems for electric vehicles (EVs). It was founded to help the EU transition to a carbon-free automotive future. Northvolt has made swift progress on its mission to deliver a lithium-ion battery with the smallest carbon footprint in the world. The Volkswagen Group placed an order for SEK 108 billion worth of battery cells from Northvolt’s Swedish gigafactory. Once fully operational, this factory will be producing 240 GWh worth of battery capacity per year in northern Sweden. This is comparable to the current capacity of the Tesla/Panasonic factory in Nevada.
Volkswagen is working to transition to EVs. Northvolt was selected as its strategic lead supplier for premium automotive battery cells in Europe. With the VW order, Northvolt has now secured in excess of SEK 227 billion (EUR 22 billion) worth of contracts from key customers. This could create hundreds of additional jobs in the country. Sweden is home to vast numbers of migrant workers. These expats regularly send remittances back to their home countries via the Ria Money Transfer App and other trusted channels. Manufactures like Northvolt rely on excellent workmanship to deliver superior products. Among Northvolt’s industrial partners and customers are ABB, BMW, Scania, Siemens, Vattenfall, Vestas, and VW.
The EV revolution in Sweden
In 2019 Sweden had the third largest market share in Europe for newly registered EVs. 5.1% of all battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and 8% of all plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in Europe were registered in Sweden. According to Clean Technica (April 2021), the Tesla Model 3 dominates the Swedish EV market with Tesla commanding 27% of the market share. The Kia Niro came in second with 16.5% of the market. The Polestar 2 had a secure but small lead over the Nissan LEAF (430 vs. 393). Polestar, the Swedish electric performance carmaker, is poised to capitalize on the growth of the EV market. It shows great ambition with plans to build the greenest car the world has ever seen.
Bee Charging Solutions (formerly Clever Sweden) is a regional energy company-owned business with one of Sweden’s largest EV charging networks. It has more than 2,000 public charging points and an estimated market share of 20%. Statkraft is Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy. Bee will merge with Statkraft’s Swedish charging station business Grön Kontakt under the name Mer Sweden AB. The move is in preparation for Sweden’s impending EV boom. Staktkraft said it will invest SEK 508 million (EUR 49 million) in Polestar to expand its presence in the global EV sector. Swedish electric car owners have the option of a bonus-malus. Under this system EV buyers are eligible for a grant of up to SEK 60,000 (EUR 6,000).
The bigger picture
Sweden’s share of the plugin electric vehicle (PEV) market grew from 25% in February 2020 to 34.8% in February 2021. The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in April 2021 that the EU aims to build a competitive automotive battery industry. The industry will be EU-based, and will establish global standards for environmentally and socially responsible batteries. The EU set a net-zero target for automotive emissions for 2050, as part of the European Green Deal. Such strong signals from governments have encouraged the EV revolution in Sweden to speed-up.
EVs and the EU
In 2020 the European market for passenger cars and light utility vehicles contracted by 23.5% (compared to 2019) due to the COVID-19 crisis. Despite this, EV registrations increased from 559,871 units in 2019 to 1.4 million in 2020. The staggering increase of 144% despite COVID-19 shows just how popular EVs are becoming. The surge in demand was partly driven by government incentives for buying low and zero emission vehicles. Sweden’s top 5 BEVs in 2020 were Volkswagen ID.3, Tesla Model 3, Kia Niro, Renault ZOE, and Nissan LEAF. PEVs accounted for 4.2% of the global light-vehicle sales in 2020, a 41% rise compared to 2019. The share of PHEV and BEV in new passenger car sales was more than 10% of the total car market in as many as 13 EU countries.
Batteries make up about 40% of the value of an electric car. China currently controls two-thirds of the global EV battery cell manufacturing capacity. The EU aims to increase its share from a meager 3% currently to 25% by 2028.
About the author:
Hemant G is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency. When he’s not writing, he loves to travel, scuba dive, and watch documentaries.