Your money | Trading, Personal finances and Commerse

Ex Tesla manager seeks $4 billion for Europes biggest battery plant


A former Tesla executive is trying to raise at least $4 billion to build Europe's biggest battery factory in Sweden to meet an expected surge in demand as the region's automakers switch to electric vehicles. Peter Carlsson, who managed Tesla's supply chain before returning to his native country, believes European carmakers' push into electric propulsion implies demand for batteries that far exceeds anything now planned. Some carmakers want to ramp up battery production in-house, wary of the dominance of Asian players such as Panasonic Corp (6752. T), LG Chem <051910. KS, and China's CATL. German company BMZ opened the first section of a battery plant last year while LG Chem is investing $339 million in a factory in Poland, both of which include the manufacture of the battery cells. Samsung SDI (006400. KS) has said it will start production of batteries for electric vehicles in Hungary in 2018, establishing an integrated production system ranging from battery cells to packs. Carlsson's company Northvolt is looking to rival the scale of Elon Musk's Gigafactory in the Nevada desert - targeting annual cell production equivalent to 32 gigawatt hours when the plant hits full gear in 2023.

Production would be largely automated but the factory could potentially employ 2,500 to 3,000 skilled people. The site would use cheap renewable energy and could source some key battery ingredients such as nickel, cobalt and lithium from within the Nordic region. While the Tesla Gigafactory began mass production this year in partnership with Japan's Panasonic, Northvolt has yet to identify a site for its project which would require investment of at least 4 billion euros ($4.2 billion) over six years."I am very optimistic that we can attract both industrial investors as well as institutional investors," Northvolt Chief Executive Peter Carlsson, a former head of supply chain at Tesla, said on the sidelines of a presentation.

"We hope to close the major investment in just over a year, but we have already begun talking to companies and institutions that could be leading players in the process."So far a small group of investors including utility Vattenfall and Sweden's energy and innovation agencies have contributed funds allowing the firm to set up offices in central Stockholm and begin recruiting staff for the project. Electrification has become a buzzword among automakers in recent years amid global concerns about climate change. Consultants CRU Group have said electric car and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales could hit 4.4 million in 2021 and more than six million by 2025, from 1.1 million last year.

Apart from servicing the automotive sector, Northvolt also sees business in areas such as energy storage and heavy industrial machinery. "We are not going to fill the plant only with automotive. Not because we don't think it is possible, but we don't think it is a good idea to depend heavily on one vertical, and only one," said Northvolt Chief Operating Officer Paolo Cerruti, who also worked for Tesla in the past. Carlsson said Northvolt had begun selecting a location for the plant and would start raising 50 million euros to fund a smaller-scale pilot line in the coming months. Asked how Tesla chief Elon Musk viewed Northvolt's plans, Carlsson said: "We are not competing with Tesla because they are not going to sell batteries, but we do share a very strong vision which is that it is hugely important to accelerate our society away from its addiction to fossil fuels."

Five steps to age proof your retirement healthcare costs


You might not think that flossing has much to do with your 401(k). But stay with that thought for a minute. Your everyday behaviors - from flossing to doing pushups to taking supplements - have a very big effect on whether Future You will be healthy and vibrant, or sickly and bedridden. That, in turn, will impact whether you will be obligated to spend the bulk of your retirement savings on surgeries and co-pays and prescriptions. In other words, health and wealth are inextricably linked, according to Jean Chatzky, financial expert for NBC's Today Show, who has just released the book "AgeProof," co-written with Cleveland Clinic's chief wellness officer, Dr. Michael Roizen."If your health isn't working for you, you are not going to be financially sound," Chatzky says. "And if you are not financially secure, your health is going to suffer."Consider this number: $260,000. That is the estimated amount a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2016 will pay in out-of-pocket healthcare costs over the course of their retirement, according to money managers Fidelity Investments. Most Americans have little idea that massive expenses like this are headed their way. In Fidelity's recent "Retirement IQ" survey, people were asked to guess about those retirement healthcare costs - and almost a quarter of respondents were off by an astonishing $200,000 or more.

"The sad part of all this is that medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.," says Roizen. "The good news is that if you can stay healthy, you can avoid a lot of those expenses - and put that money in retirement plans instead."One example is flossing: Poor periodontal care is one of the body's major sources of inflammation. Inflammation is one of the major factors leading to heart disease. Stave off heart disease, and just think of how that will improve not only your quality of life, but your wallet as well. Of course, the sheer amount of health information can seem overwhelming - and often contradictory. "AgeProof" attempts to boil down everything we know about health and wealth into a series of actionable tips. A sampler:* Know your stats.

You cannot gauge where you are, or where you are headed, without knowing your numbers. In blood tests you are aiming for LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides of less than 100, and fasting glucose of less than 107. Blood pressure should be lower than 120/80, and ideally 115/75. Keep your waist less than half your height.* Estimate your body's "Real Age" You can crunch this number by analyzing 157 different lifestyle factors, a discovery that might shock you into action (RealAge.com). If you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, for instance, the average 55-year-old is actually around 13 years "older" than his chronological age, Roizen says.* Get up and move.

Aim for 10,000 steps a day. Get your heart rate up with cardio at least three times a week, for at least 20 minutes each time. Boost bone strength and density by jumping 20 times on hard surfaces, in both mornings and evenings. Work on grip strength, which is a surprisingly accurate indicator of overall health prospects. Begin a regimen of push-ups and curl-ups, which will boost core strength and muscular endurance, and give you baseline stats that can be improved over time.* Stop eating junk food. It is no secret that most American diets are a total disaster. So work toward a Mediterranean-style diet rich on veggies, whole grains and olive oil. Cut back on red meat, egg yolks and anything processed. Avoid simple sugars, syrups, stripped carbs and saturated fats. Have a glass of wine if you want, but stop there. For a sweet treat, try dark chocolate. Have emergency snacks at the ready - like nuts, olives, carrots and apples - instead of processed junk. Take needed supplements like magnesium, folate, B6 and B12.* Chill out. There is zero doubt that stress ages you, and quickly. So face and deal with whatever is stressing you out, instead of coping by overeating and overdrinking. Meditation and deep breathing will calm you down and help with mental clarity. Try to sleep for eight solid hours: Achieve that by setting room temperature at 67 degrees, dimming the lights, not eating or drinking before bedtime and banishing all devices and screens from the bedroom. Power naps of 30 minutes or less are OK during the day.