Electric vehicle battery is the lifeblood of the automotive industry in the 21st century. If the EU wants to maintain its leadership in the automotive sector and in decarbonization and clean energy systems, it must have the independent ability to develop and produce batteries.
According to Bloomberg data, about 80% of existing and planned battery production in the world is in Asia. China alone accounts for 69%, the United States 15%, and the EU less than 4%. China’s quasi-monopoly position in the batteries sector may weaken Europe’s ability to compete with Chinese automakers.
The EU-launched battery project offers five types of funding. These include:
EU member states will be able to fund some researches in full as long as it covers cross-border projects;
The EU “Horizon 2020” Project Research Foundation allocates 200 million euros for battery projects;
There will also be 800 million euros of fund for the demonstration facilities;
The regions wishing to develop the battery industry can apply for financing of 22 billion euros;
The European Fund for Strategic Investment will receive funding from the European Investment Bank to co-fund billions of euros to build an EU project equivalent to Tesla’s “gigafactory” (large-scale battery cell production facility ).
The announcement of these funding is not only a strategic trade decision of the EU, but also a commitment to develop more environmentally friendly transportation options. There is no doubt that it will be welcomed by climate movement groups and car manufacturers.
European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union, Maros Sefcovic, said that there are currently 260 companies in the entire supply chain, and four groups want to build the “gigafactory”: French battery manufacturer Saft has partnered with Siemens, Solvay and Manz to develop lower-cost, better-performing solid-state batteries that could be put into production within seven years. Umicore needs a factory to produce battery materials in Poland, and German battery manufacturer Varta may announce a partnership with US automaker Ford.
In order to achieve ambitious climate goals, Europe’s battery ambition is also necessary. A report released by the United Nations showed that without massive emissions cuts, the world could lose up to 500 trillion US dollars by 2100, and electric vehicles that use renewable electricity will be the lowest carbon energy alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles.
The EU plans to recover some metal materials from old electronic products to solve the shortage of raw materials. Sevkovic said that the EU has cobalt, lithium, graphite and nickel deposits in France, Finland, Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic and begin to consider mining issues.