Northvolt aims to take on Tesla from Arctic lair

Santa's elves aren't the only ones working around the clock in the Arctic this December.

Enter the Northvolt factory.

The brainchild of Chief Executive Peter Carlsson, he's determined to get the factory, roughly 200 km south of the Arctic circle, open for business this month.

That means that he and his team of engineers and technicians are laboring at a pace that would rival Santa's little helpers.

Carlsson wants to take on his old boss Elon Musk with the greenest electric vehicle batteries in the world.

The lithium-ion plant in the town of Skelleftea was the first to be built in the EU by a European company.

It's meant to be the launchpad for a regional battery champion that can compete not only with Tesla but also Asian suppliers.

Carlsson says sustainability is key.

"And here our sustainability approach has been very, very important because it has made everybody realise that if we're not doing this build-up in the right way we can create a pretty significant carbon footprint in this industry development. But if we're a little bit careful and a little bit smart on how we build this industry, we can help solve two problems: we can build a new industry that has a very low carbon footprint and we can reduce oil out of transportation and I think this has been very important for us."

Skelleftea fits the bill.

It runs largely on hydropower and wind, and the plant's energy will be 100% renewable.

But it's a cold, remote place - and dark too, in the winter months.

That means recruiting engineers could be tough, with a global rivalry for talent, not least from Tesla's new Berlin plant.

Even so, Northvolt has raised more than $6.5 billion in funding, and plans to produce enough batteries to power over 1 million electric vehicles annually in the factory.

Carlsson aims to open at least two more factories in the next ten years.

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