Equinor, Norsk Hydro and Panasonic will explore opportunities to set up a lithium-ion battery production business in Norway, targeting auto makers as potential customers, the firms said on Wednesday.
Norway, which relies heavily on oil and gas revenues, aims to become the world's first country to end the sale of fossil-fuel powered cars, setting a 2025 deadline. Fully electric vehicles now make up about 60% of monthly sales.
"The companies intend that this initiative is based on Panasonic's leading technology and targets the European market for electric vehicles and other applications," they said in a joint statement.
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As Europe seeks to sharply reduce its carbon footprint, oil major Equinor and metals producer Norsk Hydro both aim to increase areas of their business benefiting from transition to new forms of energy use.
"We expect battery production to grow rapidly as a solution to the world's number one challenge, climate change," said Arvid Moss, Hydro's head of energy and corporate development.
(Also read | Porsche hands over Taycan electric sportscar to its 1,000th Norwegian customer)
The companies will approach car makers and other potential customers in Europe, as well as relevant authorities in Norway and elsewhere, with a plan to present preliminary findings of their project by mid-2021.
"By pooling our different areas of energy expertise, our companies will seek to create a battery business that is profitable, scalable and sustainable," Equinor's head of strategy and business development Al Cook said.
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