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Swedish battery start-up to build third factory in northern Germany

Battery group Northvolt announced Tuesday that it would build a battery factory in northern Germany, as Europe seeks to ramp up its capacity to produce electric cars.

A rendering of the planned Northvolt Drei battery factory
A rendering of the planned Northvolt Drei battery factory. Photo: Northvolt

The Swedish electric car battery specialist said it picked Heide in Germany’s northernmost state Schleswig-Holstein as it is known as a “clean energy valley” which is home to windfarms that would power the plant.

The new plant is expected to have an annual production capacity of 60 GWh — enough to supply around one million cars per year. The factory could start production in 2025 and provide some 3,000 jobs, the company said in a statement.

Northvolt opened its first “gigafactory” in Sweden in December and the Heide factory will take its battery manufacturing capacity under development above 170 GWh gigawatt hours.

Schleswig-Holstein was selected as the “region hosts the cleanest energy grid in Germany, one which is characterized by a surplus of electricity generated by onshore and offshore wind power”, Northvolt said.

“It matters how we produce a battery cell. If you use coal in your production, you embed a fair amount of CO2 into your battery, but if we use clean energy, we can build a very sustainable product,” Northvolt CEO Peter Carlsson said.

One of Europe’s leading battery hopefuls, Northvolt has already secured $50 billion (44.6 billion euros) worth of orders from European car giants including Germany’s BMW and Volkswagen, and Sweden’s Volvo.

Faced with China, which dominates the market, Europe accounted for just three percent of world battery cell production in 2020 but aims to corner 25 percent of the market by the end of the decade, with several factory openings planned.

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BUSINESS

Huawei loses Swedish appeal over 5G ban

A Swedish court on Wednesday rejected an appeal from China's Huawei over the government's decision to ban the network equipment giant from the rollout of 5G mobile network infrastructure in the Nordic country.

Huawei loses Swedish appeal over 5G ban

The administrative court of appeal in Stockholm said in a statement it believed it was fair to assume that the use of Huawei’s products in central functions of the 5G network “can cause harm to Sweden’s security.”

After the UK in the summer of 2020, Sweden became the second country in Europe and the first in the EU to explicitly ban Huawei from almost all of the network infrastructure needed to run its 5G mobile network.

Beijing warned at the time that the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority’s (PTS) decision could have “consequences” for the Scandinavian country’s companies in China, prompting Swedish telecom giant and Huawei competitor Ericsson to worry about retaliatory measures.

The PTS’ decision also included a provision that equipment already installed had to be removed by January 1, 2025, which the appeals court also confirmed.

“Sweden’s security is a particularly strong interest and the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority’s decision is based on a real, current and sufficiently serious threat to Sweden’s security,” judge Anita Linder said in a statement.

Huawei first appealed the decision to a lower court which also sided with the PTS in June 2021.

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