Following the European Commission mid-July announcement that it intends to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035, the bloc is making plan to develop its own battery production base, being part of the continent’s national security programme.
This is contained in a report released by Transport & Environment, a non-governmental organisation.
Investigation shows that batteries that can power electric cars and homes are mostly produced by Asian leading manufacturers including China, South Korea and Japan.
The report says, “if Europe is going to shift to electric cars, it will need lots of batteries. Hence, there is intense plan to invest 40 billion euros ($47 billion) in 38 European factories that could turn out 1,000 gigawatt hours of batteries per year,
With average battery capacity of 60 kilowatt hours, that would be enough to power 16.7 million vehicles.
Many carmakers, having sensed which way the wind is blowing with governments, have now announced plans to shift towards electric vehicles.
Germany’s Daimler was the latest, announcing last week that from 2025 it will launch only electric vehicle platforms as it gears up for a full shift to electric cars from 2030.
One initiative is Sweden’s Northvolt, which already has a factory under construction that is to produce batteries with total capacity of 150 gigawatt hours by 2030.
Volkswagen is a major partner, and the German carmaker is seeking to build five other factories as well.
Daimler, as part of its announcement this past week, said it would build eight battery factories worldwide for its Mercedes-Benz and Smart cars.
Stellantis, which includes 12 brands including Fiat, Chrysler, Jeep and Peugeot, plans to build five factories in Europe and North America.
Tesla expects to open its first European “gigafactory” near Berlin later this year, which it claims will be the world’s largest battery cell production site with 250 gigawatt hours of capacity in 2030.
EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic recently said the planned factories put the EU “well on track to achieve open strategic autonomy in this critical sector”.
However raw materials for the manufacture batteries have been a major challenge for the timeline set by the Commission.
It was revealed that car batteries currently use lithium-ion technology, similar to what powers most electronic devices today.
Europe has domestic sources of lithium, notably in the Czech Republic and Germany, but it will also probably have to depend on imports.
But the bloc has been advised to “develop supply agreements with markets where there are abundant resources, favourable diplomatic ties, and strong investment frameworks” to reduce the threat of shortages.