Northvolt to establish battery gigafactory in Quebec

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The Northvolt battery gigafactory to be built outside of Montreal will be able to produce batteries for a million electric vehicles a year. PHOTO courtesy Northvolt.

Northvolt, a Swedish battery manufacturing giant, has announced plans to establish a fully integrated lithium-ion battery gigafactory, just outside of Montreal. The $7 billion project is being hailed as the largest private investment in the history of Quebec.

The factory, named Northvolt Six, will host 60 GWh of annual cell manufacturing capacity, with adjacent facilities for cathode active material production and battery recycling, enabling fully circular production at site.

Construction of the first 30 GWh phase of the project is due to commence before the end of 2023 and the first operations are set to begin in 2026. This initial phase of cathode and cell manufacturing, coupled with recycling, is expected to employ up to 3,000 people. It is developed with strong support from the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec and will represent the largest private investment in Quebec’s history.

“In the seven years since Northvolt was founded, we have pursued a singular goal – to establish a new, sustainable model for battery manufacturing. Today, we are expanding our ambitions by bringing Northvolt to Canada,” said Peter Carlsson, CEO and Co-Founder of Northvolt.

The selection of the 170-hectare site for Northvolt Six in McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand just outside the city of Montréal was made after an extensive review of locations in North America. The site fulfils a multitude of criteria that are necessary to ensure that the company will be able to meet its commitment to sustainable battery production. Quebec hydroelectricity guarantees cell production from 100 percent renewable energy and the region represents an ideal location in the North American automotive value chain.

“This is a historic and transformative announcement,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who was present for the announcement said, adding that the investment continues the government plan to create “end-to-end battery manufacturing” in Canada. 

“This facility will be able to produce batteries for a million electric vehicles a year and, at full production capacity, the plant will contribute up to $1.6 billion to our economy,” Trudeau said.

Northvolt Co-Founder Paolo Cerruti will lead the project as CEO of Northvolt North America, which will have its head office in Montreal.

Cerruti comments: “We have in Northvolt Six enormous potential, not only to rapidly expand our ability to bring sustainable batteries into markets of North America, but to accelerate Quebec’s emergence as a key actor in the global energy transition. With its unique access to renewable power and raw materials, we see this as the ideal base of operations for Northvolt’s first gigafactory outside of Europe,” Cerruti commented.

The federal government and the provincial government of Quebec have committed to providing Northvolt with production support to match the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act’s Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit, equalling up to $35 US per kWh. Northvolt can also claim government production incentives up to $4.6 billion over the next five to nine years, of which one-third is to be paid by the Quebec government, amounting to another $1.5 billion from the province. 

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