Northvolt makes EV battery breakthrough

As if giving the world IKEA, ABBA, and Spotify wasn’t already enough, Sweden is also solving a major hurdle for EV battery production.

What happened: Swedish startup Northvolt has developed a sodium-ion battery free of the critical (and pricey) metals that lithium-ion batteries require, a breakthrough which could make EV batteries cheaper and cut manufacturers’ current reliance on Chinese metals.

  • Northvolt has reportedly built a battery that produces a level of energy that’s nearly on par with lithium batteries, a feat that had previously eluded manufacturers.

  • Sodium-ion batteries are cheaper and safer than their lithium-based counterparts, which rely on metals like lithium, cobalt, and nickel that are concentrated in China. 

Why it matters: Prices for critical metals are being driven up as manufacturers race to lock up supply to scale production. If Northvolt can mass produce batteries that aren’t reliant on scarce and financially volatile metals, it would ease concerns around the supply of batteries. 

Bottom line: Northvolt still needs to build the factories to manufacture the new batteries, but as Chinese competitors play catch up, the company’s breakthrough has given it a nice headstart in an ultra-competitive EV battery market.—LA