Volvo to retool Swedish plant for EVs
Swedish automaker to invest $1B in Torslanda modernizations Metal Tech News – February 9, 2022
Last updated 2/22/2022 at 3:34pm
Immediately following its partnership with Northvolt to build a 50-gigawatt-hour-per-year battery gigafactory in Sweden, Volvo Cars announced plans to invest roughly US$1.1 billion (10 billion Swedish kronor) to ready its Torslanda manufacturing plant to produce the next generation of fully electric vehicles.
"With these investments we take an important step towards our all-electric future and prepare for even more advanced and better electric Volvos," said Volvo Cars Chief Executive Håkan Samuelsson.
The Swedish automaker aims to provide drivers of these advanced electric Volvo's with longer range, quicker charging, and lower costs, while also setting new benchmarks in automotive safety and sustainability.
Toward these goals, Volvo will introduce a number of new and more sustainable technologies and manufacturing processes in the upgraded and modernized Torslanda plant, which has the capacity to produce 300,000 Volvos per year.
Opened in 1964 by Swedish King Gustaf VI Adolf, Torslanda is one of Volvo Cars' longest-operating manufacturing facilities and currently employs around 6,500 people.
"Torslanda is our largest plant and will play a crucial role in our ongoing transformation as we move towards becoming a pure electric car maker by 2030," said Samuelsson.
The retooling of this nearly 60-year-old facility for the EV future will include the introduction of mega casting of aluminum body parts, a new battery assembly plant, and fully refurbished paint and final assembly shops.
Volvo is particularly excited about installing the ability to mega-cast aluminum body parts for the next generation of electric Volvo models.
Introduced and popularized by Tesla, mega casting allows automakers to make large car body castings to replace oftentimes hundreds of smaller parts that are later joined by welding, fasteners, and adhesives.
Casting major parts of the floor structure of future Volvos as one single aluminum part reduces weight, which in turn improves the energy efficiency and thereby the electric range of the car. This also allows Volvo designers to optimally use the available space inside the cabin and luggage area, boosting the overall versatility of the vehicle.
Mega casting is also expected to reduce the complexity in the manufacturing process at Torslanda, which will reduce costs and shrink the environmental footprint across the manufacturing and supply chain networks.
The new battery assembly plant will integrate battery cells and modules in the floor structure of the car, while the assembly shop is being refurbished for the accommodation of next-generation fully electric cars.
"Today is a great day for the Torslanda plant as we are making it fit for the future with this investment package," said Javier Varela, head of engineering and operations at Volvo Cars. "Our future as a company is all-electric and that requires a variety of upgrades across the plant, to ensure that Torslanda can continue to build premium electric cars of the highest quality."
This modernizing of the Torslanda plant is in addition to a roughly US$3.3 billion (30 billion Swedish kronor) investment in battery development and manufacturing.
The investments follow on a recent announcement by Volvo Cars and Northvolt, the leading battery cell company, to invest SEK 30 billion in the development and manufacturing of high-quality, tailor-made batteries for the next generation of electric Volvos.
Both investment plans represent new steps towards Volvo Cars' ambition to be a fully electric car company by 2030 and reflect the Swedish automaker's commitment to a long-term future in its hometown of Gothenburg.
More information on a 50-gigawatt-hour-per-year battery gigafactory being developed by Volvo and Northvolt can be read at Swedish partners select gigafactory site in the current edition of Metal Tech News.