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Norway’s leading battery startup has played down the suggestion that an obscure clause in the Brexit agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union could undermine the entire industry in the Nordic countries.
Norwegian policy makers, from major employer associations to central banks and ministers, have sounded a wake-up call for the future of the Norwegian battery industry after discovering that any car containing Norwegian batteries manufactured in the European Union would face a 10% tariff. The UK will start in 2027 and vice versa.
However, Tom Jensen, CEO of Freyr Battery, which was listed in New York through a special purpose acquisition company, told the Financial Times that it is committed to a plan to build five super factories in northern Norway, the first of which will produce batteries from Start next year.
“This has not allowed us to change our plans,” said former aluminum executive Jensen. “But it doesn’t mean that we are not paying attention to it. We are supporting [Norwegian] The government deals with potential problems. We are very confident that reason will prevail. “
Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybo stated that the country “has initiated dialogue with the European Commission and the United Kingdom in an attempt to find a solution to the problem”.
Norway has high hopes for its battery industry because it hopes to use its extensive hydro-renewable energy sources to attract green companies to compete with neighbouring Sweden, which is home to Europe’s largest battery start-up, and Volkswagen supports North Volt.
Ole Erik Almlid, Chairman of the Norwegian Business Confederation, warn Earlier this year, tariffs related to Brexit could mean the end of the Norwegian battery industry and lead to the loss of thousands of potential jobs. “Norway misread the situation. They did not pay enough attention to the Brexit negotiations,” said a European diplomat.
Another member pointed out that the United Kingdom has outlined its support for Norway, but the removal of tariffs will require amendments to the Brexit agreement. Both the European Union and the United Kingdom believe this is impossible.
Freyr plans to spend nearly US$2 billion to build four factories in Norway by 2025, and announced that one of them may be in Finland, and then spend another US$2 billion to build three other super factories by 2028.
It relies on 24M from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is rarely used but possibly more efficient semi-solid battery technology.
Jensen said that the first two Freyr superfactories — to be built in Moirana, south of the Arctic Circle — will be used for energy storage instead of electric vehicles.
He added that Freyr raised US$600 million from investors earlier this year as part of its acquisition by Spac and listing in New York, and is “doubling” its investment in Norway because it hopes to use its hydroelectric power generation The most environmentally friendly and cheapest Any manufacturer’s battery.
The Norges Bank pointed out in its June monetary policy report that the four companies plan to invest about 80 billion Norwegian kroner ($9 billion) in battery factories by 2026. They will not be built.
Freyr’s shareholders include Koch Industries and commodity giant Glencore, as well as institutional investors Fidelity and Franklin Templeton. Its goal is to have 43 GWh of battery capacity by 2025 and 100-150 GWh by 2030. Sweden’s Northvolt aims to be at least 150GWh by the end of the decade, and announced cooperation with Volkswagen and Volvo.