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1 March 2023

Freyr on track as remains of Britishvolt are sold off

The difference in outcome between the UK’s Britishvolt and Freyr Battery of Norway could not be further apart. Freyr this week said its’ factory was ready to start making battery cells and deliver them to its Customer Qualification Plant (CQP) bang on schedule.

It comes fresh from getting away a second equity offering, and has the confidence of its financial markets where it raised $264.5 million, and has expanded into the US, having bought a 368-acre site for a factory to open in 2025 in Coweta County, Georgia which will eventually output 34 GWh of cells. It has convinced state and local investors to offer $410 million of incentives over the life of the project.

By comparison the remnants of Britishvolt were sold by the Administrator this week to an Australian company after running out of cash, before it put a spade into the ground at its factory site.

Freyr’s CQP will open on March 28 and the company says this marks the start of its GWh scale era using the SemiSolid technology platform it licensed from 24M Technologies in the US. It will start supplying cells to Impact Clean Power Technology which it announced a deal with last month, ramping deliveries up so that Impact receives between 10 GWh and 14 GWh of LFP-based battery cells from 2025 to 2030. Freyr recently licensed LFP design technology from Alees to be used at its initial gigafactory at Mo i Rana in Norway, which it quaintly calls its Giga Arctic in the style of Tesla. The factory is powered by renewable energy from Statkraft to make it entirely clean.

Freyr has already signed a number of deals in the Energy Storage Systems (ESS) space, and will now chase commercial and passenger vehicle markets.

Last December Freyr partner Nidec sent cells off to be independently tested, which showed they were in the top quartile of energy density for LFP graphite batteries. It also has a deal with Glencore for a long term supply of Cobalt for NCM batteries which will go into Electric Vehicles.

Last year Freyr revealed that it had signed an agreement with Honeywell, and another with an unnamed global industrial player, which represented over 50 GWh of energy storage systems to be delivered from this year to 2030 and said it was in negotiations with five additional companies which represent over 150 GWh of cumulative demand.

Freyr reported 2022 losses of $98.8 million, and said it has cash in bank of $563 million.

Elsewhere in the battery cell market, LG Energy Solution and Honda broke ground on a new US sites for batteries which will require an initial $3.5 billion investment rising to $4.4 billion eventually. Phase one will be complete by late 2024 with it going to mass production by the end of 2025. This is purely for batteries for EVs in  North America. It will use up to 2 million square feet of land in Fayette County, near Jeffersonville, Ohio.

On the back of this Honda will be able to build EVs in the US and qualify for subsidies in the US Inflation Reduction Act.

The facility will create 2,200 jobs and output some 40GWh of annual battery capacity. In Japan new Honda EVs will rely on batteries made in China.

Honda said at the event that it has plans to invest $700 million to re-tool several of its existing auto and powertrain plants in Ohio for production of electric vehicles, all of which should be in production by 2026.

LG Energy Solution says it already has annual production capacity of 200GWh and this will rise to 300GWh by the end of this year.