Statevolt launches its ‘hyperlocal’ strategy in California

California's newest electric battery producer, Statevolt, is looking to relocate its production line.

Statevolt, a company producing electric batteries, plans to relocate its production line. Founded by Lars Carlstrom, Statevolt is his third battery factory project. In 2019 and 2021 Carlstrom is creating Britishvolt in the UK and Italvolt in Italy. Since May 2022, the founder and CEO, has been working on Statevolt in California.

Statevolt plans to have a generating capacity of 54 GWh. This is higher than the 30GWh and 45GWh of Britishvolt and Italvolt. With this amount, Statevolt should be able to power approximately 650,000 electric vehicles. This would be even more than the capacity of the Tesla site in California. This new independent producer is thus establishing itself as a major player in the state’s energy and automotive sector. However, the question of the clientele is still open.

More than just a battery producer, Carlstrom wants to organize a whole local production chain around Statevolt. The CEO calls it the ‘hyperlocal’ industry because of its location. In concrete terms, this would mean the supply of raw materials as well as their transformation for local assembly. There would be no international imports. Specifically, the metals and rare earths needed to make electric batteries and the energy used to power those batteries would all come from the state in the western United States.

To this end, Carlstrom is in negotiations with multiple others who could move into this production line.

Energy efficiency and sovereignty, major issues

In order to optimize the battery sector in California and to energize the region, Statevolt plans to use locally mined lithium. For this purpose, the company has entered into a supply contract with Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR). CTR is a California-based producer of lithium and renewable energy. The latter plans to produce 20,000 mt/year of lithium in 2024 and up to 80,000 mt/year in 2026. So CTR will produce the local lithium at Statevolt, as well as the renewable energy needed to power the batteries.

However, the lithium must be processed in order to be used in the assembly. That is why Statevolt is currently in negotiations with several players. The company hopes to convince these players to move to California. It would also improve energy sovereignty by cutting out Chinese intermediaries.

In fact, a major reason for Carlstrom to follow this logic of hyperlocalization is the need for energy sovereignty.

The United States has its own sources of minerals. However, like other Western countries, the country has relocated its extractions to China for several decades.

According to Carlstrom, the only actor that can change the supply of these resources is the government. Currently, without government support, no local private player could be more competitive than China.

U.S. supports the battery industry

It was precisely because of the positioning taken by Biden that Carlstrom decided to target California. For the CEO, the Biden administration’s plan for the electrification and battery sectors will radically change the landscape of the latter.

Thanks to the Defense Production Act invoked by Biden in June, the Department of Energy can financially and logistically support the production of renewable energy and critical energy technologies. In addition, this policy also explicitly pushes for increased production of battery materials.

The implementation of Statevolt, an important social impact

In addition to the positive effects on the environment due to this relocation of the production chain, Statevolt also seeks to have a social impact. By locating in California’s Imperial Valley, an area in decline according to Carlstrom, Statevolt will boost the local industry and economy. Thanks to the company and the relocation of the entire production chain, Statevolt estimates that it will be able to create more than 2,500 direct jobs, and 8,000 jobs including intermediate partners.

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