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Panasonic eyes battery production facility in Norway

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Panasonic, Equinor, and Norsk Hydro are exploring the possibility of establishing a battery manufacturing centre in Norway.

Over the next year, the firms will assess the market for lithium-ion batteries in Europe, and develop the business case for a “green” battery facility located in Norway.

Oil and gas revenues currently account for about 20 per cent of Norway’s economic output. However, it has already confirmed plans to end the sale of fossil fuel powered cars by 2025 and fully electric vehicles now make up about 60 per cent of monthly sales. This week, the UK brought its ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars forward by five years to 2030.

The plan is to make use of Panasonic’s pre-existing battery expertise and target the European market for electric vehicles and other applications.

By 2025, the global market for lithium-ion batteries for electric cars is expected to reach around £36-£50bn annually with particularly strong growth expected in Europe.

“This collaboration combines Panasonic’s position as an innovative technology company and leader in lithium-ion batteries, with the deep industrial experience of Equinor and Hydro, both strong global players, to potentially pave the way for a robust and sustainable battery business in Norway,” said Mototsugu Sato, executive vice president of Panasonic.

“Panasonic has powered the last two revolutions in the automotive industry – first by powering hybrids and now, by powering multiple generations of all electric vehicles. We are pleased to enter into this initiative to explore implementing sustainable, highly advanced technology and supply chains to deliver on the exacting needs of lithium-ion battery customers and support the renewable energy sector in the European region.”

The potential business could supply cylindrical batteries to Tesla’s new electric-car plant in Germany, a Panasonic spokesperson said.

The world’s largest battery facility for storing renewable electricity is currently being developed on the west coast of Saudi Arabia.

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