Rise of European Battery Manufacturing for Electric Vehicles

European EV battery manufacturing is on the rise,
From ACC to Northvolt, European EV battery manufacturing is on the rise, to combat competition in China. Stellantis & Mercedes-Benz are leading the charge

Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD sold 526,000 battery-only vehicles in the final quarter of 2023, outselling Tesla for the first time. One of BYD’s biggest sources of success is that it manufactures the most expensive part of the product - the batteries, instead of relying on third-parties. 

Now, the European EV market is poised to take on China’s lead, as battery manufacturer Northvolt has raised US$5bn - the biggest-ever EU green loan - to build EV battery factories in Poland, Germany and Sweden. 

Meanwhile, Stellantis, TotalEnergies and Mercedes-Benz have also raised nearly €4.4bn (US$4.7bn) to build four EV gigafactories in the European Union. Together, they plan to raise €7bn (US$7.5bn) to build the factories for their co-owned battery maker ACC.

 

Milestone moment in EV battery manufacturing and recycling 

Northvolt was founded in 2016 in Stockholm, Sweden, and manufactures batteries at its gigafactory Northvolt Ett, in Skellefteå. This finance package will support the expansion of Revolt Ett recycling plant, which recovers battery-grade metals, with a carbon footprint 70% lower than mined raw materials. With these two plants together, Northvolt has a fully integrated, circular battery production setup.

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Peter Carlsson, Co-Founder and CEO of Northvolt, said that this financing is a milestone for the European energy transition. 

“It will enable us to realise the full potential of Northvolt Ett and demonstrates that circular, sustainable business practices are fundamental to success in today’s industry,” said Carlsson.

Alexander Hartman, CFO of Northvolt, credited the ‘incredible’ team effort.

“This involved long due diligence processes, new partnerships with strong institutions, and developing cutting edge financing structures focused on sustainability – all to close one of the largest green financing deals in history,” said Hartman.

“I’m proud to see how our ambition to mass produce the world’s greenest battery attracts top-tier financial partners, as global capital is looking to invest in electrification and climate change mitigation,” said Emma Nehrenheim, Chief Environmental Officer at Northvolt. “It has become obvious that the creation of a new industry standard not only attracts world-leading talent, but also major financial institutions that aim to align their strategy with long-term macro trends.”


Rising electric vehicle battery investment in Europe

But Northvolt is not alone in its European-based battery production. 

Stellantis is a motor manufacturer based in Amsterdam. The company recently opened its first circular economy hub, to advance its sustainability campaign. This is based on the 4R strategy: Reman, Repair, Reuse and Recycle. Now the company wants to open more battery factories in Europe, in order to protect itself against Chinese competition. 

“The Chinese offensive is possibly the biggest risk that companies like Tesla and ourselves are facing right now,’’ said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO. “We have to work very, very hard to make sure that we bring our consumers better offerings than the Chinese.”

The French oil and gas company TotalEnergies invested over US$16bn in 2023 into low carbon energies and renewables. Now, the company is on track to support electric mobility across the continent. 

In 2021, Stellantis and TotalEnergies agreed to welcome luxury car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz in as a new partner of ACC. Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, said that the company looked forward to efficiently producing battery cells and modules in Europe.

“Mercedes-Benz pursues a very ambitious transformation plan and this investment marks a strategic milestone on our path to CO2 neutrality,” said Källenius.

Bruges-based electronics manufacturer ACC is proud of reaching the funding milestone and is excited to become a key European player in sustainable mobility.

Yann Vincent, CEO of ACC, described the fundraising news as the start of an incredible industrial adventure.

“This debt raising is of utmost importance for ACC and obviously calls for competitiveness in our duties,” said Vincent. “ACC is on the way and we are committed to building a competitive European Battery Industry.”

ACC thanked its shareholders for their support, as well as the banks who placed their trust in the battery project, including BNP Paribas, ING, Deutsche Bank and Intesa Sanpaolo. The French and German governments have also contributed. 

The electric vehicle battery gigafactories will create 6,000 new jobs and will be built in:

  • Kaiserslautern, Germany 
  • An undecided location in France
  • Termoli, Italy, will host two factories.

Together, ACC and Northvolt are making Europe a hotbed of EV battery manufacturing, which will help the continent stand independently against China. 

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