Panasonic, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries, has signed a preliminary agreement with the Nordic energy company Equinor and engineering and industrial company Norsk Hydro to collaborate on building a battery business in Northern Europe.
The three companies said that over the coming months they’ll work to assess the market for lithium-ion batteries in Europe and explore the potential for building a big battery business in Norway.
“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, in a statement. “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.”
As part of the agreement, the companies will explore the potential for an integrated battery value chain and for co-locating supply chain partners, according to a statement.
Panasonic is running neck and neck with LG Chem to be the leading supplier of batteries for electric vehicles in the world. The company’s main customers for batteries are Tesla and Toyota, while LG counts automakers including General Motors, Groupe Renault, Hyundai, Ford Motor Company and Volvo as its main customers.
Panasonic’s push into Northern Europe alongside two big regional players in hydrocarbons and renewable energy is a sign of the potential that exists in the European market beyond automotive.
“Our companies seek to be leaders in the energy transition. The creation of this world-class battery partnership demonstrates Equinor’s ambition to become a broad energy company,” said Al Cook, executive vice president of Global Strategy & Business Development at Equinor, in a statement. “We believe that battery storage will play an increasingly important role in bringing energy systems to net zero emissions. By pooling our different areas of energy expertise, our companies will seek to create a battery business that is profitable, scalable and sustainable.”