What’s the Cost of an Atom?!
Here in Silicon Valley, we have a strong Swedish community bolstered by networking organizations such as SACC and Silicon Vikings. Last week, they joined forces to put on a Fireside Chat with Peter Carlsson, the supply chain whiz-kid who was able to bring Elon Musk’s dream of an affordable Tesla (very close) to fruition.
After taking some time off, he’s ready to hop back in the saddle by building a battery gigafactory in Sweden. The new venture will cost a total of $4B but the initial investment required to get the pilot off the ground is closer to $10M. Peter talked the Scandinavian Community of the Bay Area through his vision and plan, and even though I’m not an engineer, I found it fascinating.
Learning about Northvolt also made me think about Sweden and how we traditionally have always had an industrial-based economy. Living in the Silicon Valley, it is hard to comprehend the importance ‘traditional industries’ such as paper and pulp, forestry, heavy manufacturing and mining, still hold in Sweden. When big industrial companies such as Atlas Copco (side note: the first advertising campaign I ever worked on!) and Sandvik report their results in the summer, those numbers not only affect the Swedish stock markets but they also drive the national GDP… it’s definitely headline news! This is especially surprising when you, like me, spend every day on marketing services and software… intangible products are what largely drive the Silicon Valley economy.
In Sweden, we are seeing that technology infusion with the growth of the start-up scene and technology companies in general. Still, those companies tend to be much smaller than the start-ups we encounter here in the Valley. I think that’s why it’s especially impressive to me that Peter Carlsson and Northvolt are taking on a project of this magnitude. And also because this project adopts ‘old industry’ techniques by producing an actual product in an actual factory — but doing so in a highly efficient, highly technological manner. Even in American terms, this is a big project and I can’t wait to see Northvolt pull it off!