Scania Group Invests In Battery Lab, Factory In Sweden
By Chad Elmore17 November 2020
Due to the rapid expansion of Scania’s electrified range of trucks and buses , the company plans to invest more than 1 billion SEK in a battery assembly plant in its headquarters city of Södertälje, Sweden. The initial step is a 18,000-sq.m. facility and the construction will start early 2021 with the aim to be fully operational by 2023.
“This is a tangible manifestation of our determination to take a leading role in heavy vehicle electrification, which is needed to fulfil our commitment to science-based climate targets,” said Ruthger de Vries, head of Production and Logistics at Scania. “Operating an on-site battery assembly plant is a prerequisite for large-scale production of electric vehicles and it also establishes Scania clearly as a part of the battery production value chain.”
The plant which will be built adjacent to the chassis assembly plant in Södertälje will assemble battery modules and packs from cells which will be delivered from Northvolt’s battery factory in Skellefteå, Sweden. The assembled packs form battery systems tailored for Scania’s modular production.
“Scania continues to invest in the Stockholm Region and to build end-to-end electrification competence. Electrification will transform transport and this latest investment in Scania’s operations in Södertälje will further strengthen Sweden as a centre of cutting-edge innovation within heavy vehicle electrification”, said de Vries.
In 2015, Scania started series production of hybrid buses and in 2019 of its first fully electric bus range. This was recently followed by the introduction of Scania’s plug-in hybrid truck and the fully electric truck. Series production of the electric truck starts in 2021. Meanwhile, electrified industrial and marine power solutions are being developed. Scania will now gradually ramp up production, which is centered in Södertälje.
Employing a staff of 200, most recruited from within the company, the battery assembly plant is expected to be highly automated from incoming goods throughout production to delivery. Staff handling manual elements of battery module assembly, such as fitting cable harnesses, will be trained in electrical safety and protection.
Battery packs will be tailored for varying applications and delivered to the nearby chassis assembly, which is concurrently being reorganised for parallel assembly of electric and combustion engine vehicles.
In a related move, the company will invest 15.5 million euros in a new battery laboratory in Södertälje.
Construction of the 1000-sq.m laboratory is already under way and is expected to be completed by spring 2021. Following extensive testing and verification of equipment and instruments, the laboratory will be fully operative by autumn 2021.The laboratory will contain three test halls for battery cells, modules and packs. Adjacent to these halls, the laboratory will also have facilities for test sample preparation in order to improve work environment, safety and testing uptime.
“With the accelerating pace of development, the laboratory will strengthen our capacity to right-size batteries for every application,” said Claes Erixon, head of Research and Development at Scania. “We have an ambitious roadmap ahead of us in annually launching new and updated electric products with related battery services. This underscores the need for world-class skills and knowledge in battery usage and lifecycle optimization.”
The laboratory will primarily focus on battery performance and lifespan evaluation in varying climate conditions from -40°C to 70°C. Scania said its engineers will examine and identify the best operational conditions for the battery with regard to, for example, temperature setpoint, state of charge window and charging power profile for tailored utilization in optimizing battery life and customer needs.
“Scania will continue to invest in competence both in our own operations as well as through important partnerships. We are going to make sure that the Södertälje and the Stockholm region will remain in the forefront of in the research and development also in an electrified future of heavy transport,” said Erixon.
The new battery laboratory will complement a smaller facility with a climatic chamber for battery pack testing that was taken into use earlier this year. With this lab, Scania can test the performance of battery packs on operational electric trucks and buses without removing batteries. Vehicles are parked adjacent to the lab and connected to testing equipment.