The BMW Group has formed a joint technology consortium with Swedish lithium-ion start-up Northvolt and Belgium-based materials tech giant Umicore, to develop a “complete and sustainable value chain for battery cells for EVs in Europe”.
This announcement comes just weeks after BMW placed a “billion euro” order for EV batteries from China, saying that they “can’t wait” for Europe to build a battery cells industry.
The consortium’s main aim is to establish a closed life cycle loop for batteries to make battery cells sustainable. The partners said this would be achieved by creating a recyclable cell design and manufacturing process that uses mostly renewable energy.
Batteries produced under the consortium will firstly be utilised for a long period of primary use as drive batteries, followed by possible secondary use as a stationary energy storage device. Once they have reached the end of their life cycle, the cells will be recycled and the raw materials reused.
The announcement was welcomed by the European Union’s Batteries Alliance— which last week celebrated its first anniversary.
In February 2018, the EU-owned European Investment Bank granted Northvolt a €52.5 million (US$60.8m) loan to finance construction of a lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Västerås, Sweden.