Sweden-based Northvolt is increasing its ties with South Korea battery-making equipment makers, people familiar with the matter told TheElec.
The move marks a pivot away from China for the company, well known as a key partner to German auto-giant Volkswagen in batteries for electric vehicles, they said.
Northvolt was in talks with various South Korean vendors to order mixing and assembly equipment, they said. The deal under discussions with some of the vendors were worth tens of millions dollars, they added.
If the deal pulls through, it would mark the first purchase of mixing and assembly equipment by the Swedish firm from South Korea. Previously, local firm CIS supplied Northvolt with cutter equipment, while PNE solution supplied formation and cycler equipment
Northvolt initially gave the order, turn-key, for assembly equipment to Lead China, but recently canceled the deal, a person with knowledge of the matter told TheElec. Lead’s lack of technology and failure to meet up to the Swedish firm’s standard was the likely cause, they said.
Northvolt is building a battery plant with Volkswagen in Germany. The auto-giant is investing 450 million euros to build the plant. When complete, it will have production capacity of 16GWh by 2024.
The plant is being built in four phases __ Lead China previously won orders for the first and second phase.
Northvolt, like South Korea’s Samsung SDI and China’s CATL, makes prismatic battery cells for mid- to large-sized units. The company previously used the jelly roll process to assemble the cells but is increasingly applying stacking process to increase the energy density of cells.