Volvo Penta acquires marine battery systems maker
By Jack Burke02 June 2021
ZEM will remain operating under its current brand
Volvo Penta has acquired marine battery systems and electric driveline supplier ZEM.
ZEM’s core team has a background in electromobility that dates back to 1993. In 2009, ZEM was founded as an advisor to the maritime and offshore sector to design battery and hybrid solutions. Today, the company has delivered battery solutions to many different applications, ranging from ferries, offshore supply vessels, and high-speed passenger ships, to lifeboats and the booming aquaculture sector. Among its pioneering solutions are the battery systems to the SMM 2016 Ship of the Year Vision of the Fjords as well as the world’s fastest battery-driven catamaran Ryger Elektra and the first electric free-fall lifeboats Viking Norsafe.
“As a part of the Volvo Group’s great electromobility initiatives, Volvo Penta has a solid technology foundation to leverage,” said Peter Granqvist, chief technology officer, Volvo Penta. “Marine electromobility, however, has a unique set of requirements. There are very specific considerations that are of the utmost importance around the installation environment, safety, as well as the use case itself plus the current lack of charging infrastructure.”
These are challenging issues that require innovative problem-solving and experience. In addition, marine regulations differ from those on-road, the company said.
“We believe that bringing different perspectives and experiences together is key when it comes to developing, and progressing, within the field of marine electromobility,” he continues. “The ambition of this fantastic acquisition is to take another step forward in our electromobility development, thanks to the specialized marine competence and offer that ZEM has today.”
Volvo Penta will support ZEM’s growth through its established network, while ZEM’s experience will help Volvo Penta accelerate development projects. Together the companies will expand and accelerate Volvo Penta’s range and capabilities in marine electromobility.
“Joining forces with Volvo Penta marks the start of an exciting new phase for ZEM,” says Jan-Olaf Willums, founder of ZEM. “Our two companies are aligned on such core values as safety and environmental protection and we both have that Scandinavian pioneering spirit! Volvo Penta’s name and market reach will help propel us into new electromobility markets supporting our growth.”
“Volvo Penta’s vision is to become a leader in sustainable power solutions, where we are driving transformation on land and at sea towards a more sustainable society,” explains Heléne Mellquist, president of Volvo Penta. “With this acquisition, we are now able to offer driveline solutions for marine customers through ZEM and also contribute to the broader marine electromobility footprint through battery supply. It is a step forward in our transformation and will also allow Volvo Penta to capture new opportunities.”
ZEM will remain operating under its current brand, and under the leadership of Egil Mollestad, the long-term CEO of ZEM and a recognized pioneer in the maritime sector. The collaboration between Volvo Penta and ZEM is expected to grow gradually.