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Sweden to invest $18 million in Northvolt battery plant

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden will invest $18 million in a multibillion-euro project to build Europe's biggest battery cell plant in the north of the country, its Energy Agency said on Monday.

Swedish company Northvolt, whose CEO Peter Carlsson used to work for Tesla, is racing against rivals such as South Korea's LG Chem to set up large-scale battery cell plants across Europe, where automakers and industrial firms have so far been largely reliant on Asian imports.

The money will be used to finance a pilot facility in Vasteras, west of Stockholm, the Swedish Energy Agency said in a press release.

The total cost of the plant and research facilities is $5 billion.

Volkswagen-owned truck-maker Scania, Swiss engineering group ABB and Danish wind turbine maker Vestas have also signed partnership deals with the company, but Northvolt still needs to raise the vast bulk of the financing required for the plant.

(Reporting by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Mark Potter)

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