Scania and Northvolt develop battery for electric trucks with 1.5 million km lifespan

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Scania and Northvolt develop battery for electric trucks with 1.5 million km lifespan

Siôn Geschwindt

Story by

Siôn Geschwindt

Heavy truck manufacturer Scania and emerging EV battery powerhouse Northvolt have developed a battery for electric trucks that they say will last as long as the vehicles themselves — about 1.5 million kilometres.

The lithium-ion battery is the product of a five-year partnership between the two Swedish companies that began in 2017. ​​At the time, Scania was on the lookout for more robust, cost-efficient, and sustainable battery cells for its heavy-duty trucks and buses — and Northvolt was poised to deliver. 

“Northvolt’s mission to build the world’s greenest batteries perfectly matched Scania’s purpose to drive the shift towards sustainable transport,” said Scania’s CEO Christian Levin in a statement.

The lithium-ion cell was produced at Northvolt’s Ett gigafactory in north Sweden, which opened last year and runs entirely on renewable hydro and wind power. As a result, the partners estimate the battery has a carbon footprint of approximately one-third that of a comparative industry equivalent.  

The cell’s long lifespan also makes it one of the most durable and long-lasting batteries in the electric vehicle industry. Most EV batteries on the market today are only estimated to last between 150,000-300,000 km. 

“At the outset of this partnership, Northvolt and Scania agreed to an ambitious timeline for the development of a high-performance battery cell which would enable their plans for electrifying heavy transport,” said Peter Carlsson, CEO and Co-Founder of Northvolt. “To have proceeded through extensive development and validation phases, and now be delivering cells from Northvolt Ett which exceed our initial expectations in terms of performance is a tremendous accomplishment for everyone involved.” 

Northvolt’s Ett gigafactory in Sweden’s icy north made Europe’s first ever domestically produced lithium-ion battery in 2022. The factory, which employees around 500 people, covers an area three times the size of the iconic Pentagon building in the US. Credit: Northvolt

Northvolt will start mass production of the truck batteries at its Ett gigafactory imminently. Over the next few years, Northvolt aims to increase capacity at Ett to 60 GWh to supply clients like Volkswagen, BMW, Volvo and, of course, Scania. 

In addition, Scania will open a new battery factory in Södertälje, Sweden, next year, where Northvolt’s battery cells will be assembled into battery packs for the start of production of heavy-duty electric trucks. Developing long-lasting batteries is seen as an important milestone on the company’s electrification roadmap, which aims for electric vehicles to make up 50% of sales by 2030. 

Other automakers in the EV heavy vehicle space include Tesla, which is developing an electric semi truck imaginatively dubbed ‘Tesla Semi’, and Volvo, which is already distributing its electric trucks to customers throughout Europe. Swedish startup Einride, considered a competitor to the Tesla Semi, is taking the tech a step further with its plans to roll out fully autonomous electric trucks. 

While electric heavy vehicles only made up 0.6% of sales in Europe last year, accounting firm PWC predicts that they will account for one-third of all truck sales in Europe by 2030, and 70% by 2035,  due to tightening regulations on fossil fuel-powered vehicles and the falling costs of cleaner alternatives. 

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