The initial phase of the project is due to be completed by spring 2024 and the investment required to fund the project is €4 billion ($4.85 billion), it said.

The initial 45 GWh capacity could subsequently be expanded to reach up to 70 GWh.

The company is currently in the process of identifying the site that will host the plant.

“Our goal is to secure the future of the automotive industry and ensure that the supply chain is as green as possible, from start to finish. The socioeconomic impact that the new green industrialization brings with it will represent a turning point for the world,” Italvolt chief executive officer Lars Calstrom - who is also founder and shareholder of British battery start-up Britishvolt - said.

Lithium-ion batteries are used to power hybrid and electric vehicles, as well as mass energy storage systems and consumer electronics.

Sales of lithium-ion batteries are expected to increase sharply in the coming years while Europe and other regions move toward a low-carbon future.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for lithium carbonate 99.5% Li2CO3 min, battery grade, spot price ddp Europe and US was $8.50-10 per kg on Thursday February 11, up from $7.50-8.50 per kg at the end of last year but down from $10-11 per kg a year ago.