Swedish lithium-ion battery maker Northvolt AB is to partner with two of the countries’ cities to set up what it says will be “Europe’s largest and most cutting-edge lithium-ion battery manufacturing” operation.
Northvolt said the ‘Gigafactory business’ will be split between the cities of Skellefteå in the north— which will host the production factory— and the central Sweden city of Västerås— where key research and development operations will be located.
New German company TerraE Holding GmbH has formed a consortium of 17 major companies and research institutions – and plans to construct two large-scale lithium-ion battery cell production plants in the country.
CEO Holger Gritzka (pictured) says the factories will be operated as “foundries”, meaning that TerraE Holding GmbH will build and operate them, and produce lithium-ion cells according to customers’ specifications.
Australian company Energy Renaissance (ER) is to build a “specific and niche” lithium-ion battery gigafactory in Darwin, in the country’s Northern Territory, which will start production by late 2018.
“Our niche focus is to build the world's best batteries for hot and humid climates,” said Brian Craighead, managing director of Energy Renaissance, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). The battery storage systems will be designed for commercial and utility-scale uses in telecommunications, defence and government sectors, and target the Australian and South-East Asian markets.
Despite being only 30% finished, Tesla’s lithium-ion Gigafactory has rumbled into life proving the US can go head-to-head with Asia’s battery making industry.
Mass production of 2170 cells for Tesla’s Powerwall range of energy storage systems began last week, with Model 3 cell production set to follow in Q2 of this year.
Work at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory was temporarily halted after around 100 construction workers downed tools in protest of out of state workers being used, reported Bloomberg.
Work on the $5billion pound plant was ahead of schedule before the walk out last Monday— which consisted of third party construction workers (named as Brycon Corp. in reports) staging a walk out.
The Boomberg report quotes Todd Koch, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Northern Nevada, as saying: “It’s a slap in the face to Nevada workers to walk through the parking lot at the job site and see all these license plates from Arizona and New Mexico.”
A Tesla spokesperson told BBB: “Monday's protest at the Gigafactory consisted of third party construction workers, who explained that their sole complaint was with the residency of a single other contractor’s employees.
“The protest ended after a few hours. It has been business as usual at the Gigafactory ever since. Tesla’s employees were not involved in any way and there are no so-called “labor issues,” wage disputes or anything similar at the Gigafactory.
“The protester's issue is not with how Tesla treats its workers. Their issue is that of the many third party contractors that are involved in the construction of the Gigafactory, many are union but the one at issue is not.
“The union is also claiming that this contractor is somehow favoring out of state workers. In reality, more than 50% of the workers used by this contractor and more than 75% of the entire Gigafactory workforce are Nevada residents, demonstrating the project’s strong commitment to Nevada.”
Assembly of batteries began last year at the Gigafactory, including those for the Powerwall, which saw the first installations in Australia, the UK and South Africa in the past two months.
Hundreds of staff from Japanese electronics group Panasonic Corp are being drafted into the prepare Tesla’s lithium-ion gigafactory for production.
The employees are heading to Nevada this autumn to get the plant ready to start making lithium-ion batteries next year.