Infra Dig – Lars Carlstrom, the Gigafactory man
Gigafactories are flavour of the day for this latest Infra Dig podcast as Lars Carlstrom – founder and chief executive of Italvolt and Statevolt – pulls up a chair for a fireside chat on his favourite subject.
Speaking to IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville, Lars runs through plans to build 2 Gigafactories – one in north Italy and the other in California – to serve the automotive industry.
In a far-ranging conversation, Lars takes the listener through his definition of Gigafactory, supply chain issues, the rationale behind the location of his 2 facilities and broader discussion on technology and the future of electric vehicles.
Italvolt is developing a 45GWh Gigafactory in the heart of Piedmonte’s automotive region to help Europe meet growing demand for lithium-ion batteries sustainably. Production will start in 2024 and there are already a number of blue-chip partners in play.
AECOM is lined up for the engineering with Equans (part of Energie) doing dry rooms and AVL (supported by ABB) for electrification and connection to the grid, and for automation and robots for the factory. TÜV SÜD has been signed up for control and certification of production processes and American Manganese for recycling of lithium-ion batteries.
Meanwhile Statevolt is at an earlier stage of development, and it involves construction of a 54GWh Gigafactory in Imperial Valley, southern California, with an expected capex of $4 billion. To launch the new facility, Statevolt signed a letter of intent with Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR).
Under the terms of the LoI, CTR will deliver sustainable, locally produced lithium and geothermal power, from the company's to-be constructed Hell's Kitchen Lithium and Power development.
Once fully operational, the Gigafactory will be one of largest in North America, with a battery production capacity of 54GWh, serving around 650,000 electric vehicles a year at full capacity. The Statevolt project will focus on developing a new, hyper-local business model for battery development, helping the US create a self-sufficient battery supply chain.
Prior to Italvolt and Statevolt, Lars founded Britishvolt in the UK.
Lars – an entrepreneur of 30 years’ standing – takes the listener through plans for the north Italian and Californian facilities, while explaining the role gigafactories play and how his companies will integrate with the electric vehicle industry.