MUNICH (dpa-AFX) - The car manufacturer BMW has withdrawn an order for battery cells worth two billion euros from the Swedish supplier Northvolt. "Northvolt and the BMW Group have jointly decided to focus Northvolt's activities on the goal of developing next-generation battery cells," said a BMW spokesperson on Thursday, confirming a report by "Manager-Magazin".

The magazine cited problems at the cell supplier, which was founded in 2016, in ramping up industrial series production as the reason. Northvolt is two years behind schedule and is producing too many rejects.

BMW did not want to comment on the reasons for the order cancellation. BMW is "still very interested in establishing a high-performance manufacturer of circular and sustainable battery cells in Europe", said the spokesperson.

Northvolt plans to build battery cells for electric cars in Schleswig-Holstein from 2026. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Economics and Climate Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) were present at the ground-breaking ceremony for the "Gigafactory" near Heide in March.

BMW had ordered the Northvolt cells for its current fifth generation of batteries. They will be manufactured at the Northvolt factory in Skellefteå in northern Sweden from 2024, with energy "100% from wind and hydropower", as both companies emphasized when the contract was signed in July 2020. Now the Korean supplier Samsung SDI is set to fill the gap. However, the next-generation battery cells that BMW needs for its "New Class" e-cars are to come from Northvolt./rol/DP/jha