With Europe expected to lead global sales of electric cars for the second year in a row, a race is underway to build a battery supply chain from scratch across the continent.
After years of abandoning the electric car battery business to foreign companies, Europe wants to enter this market. Potential manufacturers in the North, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Poland are emerging in a transcontinental competition to eliminate the dominance of contemporary Chinese Amperex technology and the Korean LG Energy Solution.
Driven by state support of at least 6.1 billion euros and investment plans totaling 10 times that amount in just one year, the race for the emergence of a regional champion has already begun. Competitors include startups Northvol, from Sweden, Britishvolt, from the United Kingdom, Automotive Cells from France, and powers such as Tesla and Volkswagen. BloombergNEF estimates the continent could increase its share of global battery production to 31% in 2030 from just 7% last year.
“We are creating a new industry in Europe, and we’re creating an entirely new ecosystem,” said Marus Sivkovic, the European Commission vice president overseeing the batteries initiative. “Investments are really coming.”
Civkovic estimated the planned investments in 2019 at 60 billion euros, three times the amount spent in China. These impressive totals cover the entire supply chain, from raw materials to assembly and recycling.
Among the stricter emissions rules and fines for violating them, sales of electric cars – electric batteries and plug-in hybrid models – more than doubled last year in Europe, to 1.3 million units, overtaking China for the first time.
That number could turn out to be 1.9 million electric cars sold this year, as Volkswagen, Stelantis and BMW plan new models, while Ford and Volvo are committed to becoming nearly fully electric.
The European Commission has presented its goal of having at least 30 million cars without zero emissions on its roads by 2030, with the goal of European factories being able to cover more than 90% of the demand for batteries.
The pressure is on countries such as Germany, France and Belgium, which are uncomfortable because car manufacturers, which are large employers, rely on battery suppliers outside Europe.
There are currently plans for 27 different battery production sites in Europe, which could lead to at least 50 gigawatt hours of cells this decade, he estimates. Jean-Pierre Corneau, former CEO of Renault SA, is now a partner at the consulting firm SIA Partners.
Abroad they keep giving messages
CATL, the largest producer of rechargeable cells, will invest $ 12 billion to add about 230 gigawatts of capacity worldwide in the next four years. Chinese company Ningde, which supplies the biggest brands of electric cars today, is expected to start production in Germany soon.