Europe sees battery production as continent’s energy future

Source: By Rochelle Toplensky, Financial Times • Posted: Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A Swedish startup based in one of the cradles of electrical technology wants to rival Asia’s giants of lithium-ion battery production.

The company, Northvolt, plans to build a plant capable of turning out 32 gigawatt-hours of lithium battery capacity per year. It’s based in the city of Västerås, where light and generator manufacturer ASEA — later part of ABB Group — got its start in 1833.

European officials see battery technology, especially for vehicles, as strategically important for the continent’s competitiveness in the energy sector.

Northvolt is also one of 80 stakeholders in a battery production initiative known as the E.U. Battery Alliance, launched by the European Commission’s vice president for energy, Maroš Šefčovič.

“What [has been] really missing is the feeling that this was very important from the point of view of the new E.U. industrial policy,” said Šefčovič. “If the engine of the combustion car was the most precious part of the car, in future it will be batteries and software”