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Northvolt begins building Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery plant

Battery cell maker Northvolt has begun building in Sweden what will be Europe’s largest lithium-ion battery cell factory, as it received the environmental permit for phase one earlier this week.

The company aims to reduce reliance on batteries from China and South Korea as European carmakers come under increasing pressure hurry up and catch onto the ongoing electric vehicles (EVs) boom.

Batteries are the biggest single cost of an EV and companies such as VW have called for the creation of a European supplier to compete with dominant Asian players such as Panasonic, LG Chem and China's CATL.

Former Tesla executive Peter Carlsson, co-founder and chief executive of Northvolt, wants the northern Sweden factory to rival the scale of the US electric carmaker's Gigafactory in the Nevada desert, targeting annual cell production equivalent to 32 gigawatt-hours by 2023.

The first section of the factory, in Skellefteå in the north of Sweden, is expected to start production in late 2020, generating eight gigawatt cell capacity per year.

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