The plan would be similar to Airbus and the first results wil be announced in February next year, says Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for Energy Union for the European Commission (above) in a keynote speech.
“Batteries are at the heart of the ongoing industrial revolution and represent a key enabling technology in the context of the Energy Union,” he said. “We are at a critical juncture. The lack of a domestic, European cell manufacturing base jeopardises the position of EU industrial customers because of the security of the supply chain, increased costs due to transportation, time delays, weaker quality control or limitations on the design.”
Several companies are already building battery gigafactories in Europe, including BMZ, Samsung SDI and Swedish startup Northvolt. The UK is investing in £246m battery research and mass production, while UK manufacturer Dyson is investing heavily in battery technology and production for an electric car it is designing.
“We need to act fast – and collectively – to overcome this competitive disadvantage and capitalise on our leadership in many sectors of the battery value chain, from materials to system integration and recycling,” said Šefčovic. “Due to the level and urgency of investment needed, this cannot be done in a fragmented manner. It needs a Europe-wide approach.”
He has been talking with the European Investment Bank and interested European countries to establish a competitive manufacturing chain, capture sizeable markets and boost jobs, growth and investment across Europe. Companies including chemicals groups BASF and Solvay, car makers Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Renault, French battery-maker Saft and Siemens. Northvolt and battery foundry startup Terra E (see over) were also part of the talks.
Next: Working groups and European battery activity
A number of working groups on supply chain, investment financing and engineering, trade issues, research and innovation, and others are being set up by the industrial partners, says Šefčovič.
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