Europe plans EV battery revolution to catch China, Korea and US

New Battery Action Plan aims to address the fact Europe currently has “no capability” to mass-produce batteries for electric vehicles

The European Commission has announced a new Battery Action Plan, which seeks to address the inability of EU member states to mass-produce batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).

Chinese and Korean companies currently dominate the EV battery market, with firms like LG, Samsung, CATL and SK Innovation surging ahead as electric vehicles gain traction with consumers. Tesla’s $5 billion Gigafactory in Nevada, meanwhile, is set to make America a serious player in the market, almost doubling global battery production when it opens in 2020.

• Motorway services and major fuel stations to have electric charging points

European businesses could soon challenge those companies, however, after European Commission chiefs confirmed an EU Battery Action Plan will “establish competitive, innovative and sustainable battery manufacturing projects” in EU countries.

The Plan follows the founding of a European Battery Alliance in October last year, and aims to secure access to raw battery materials (like cobalt and lithium) from countries outside the EU. The plan will also provide training and skill support for battery engineers and technicians in Europe, and forge corporate partnerships between EU companies.

Other aims include the securing of funding mechanisms, new battery sustainability and recycling projects, and the streamlining of EU regulations surrounding EV batteries. The Commission considers “Europe has what it takes to become a world leader in sustainable battery technology.”

Earlier this year, German automotive supplier Bosch announced it was pulling out of the EV battery market as it considered the investment required for producing its own cells was “too risky”. The company said it would rely on an outsourced battery cell supply, partly because it estimated that it would need to invest €20 billion in order to gain a 20 per cent share of the EV battery market.

The European Union previously announced it wants to create an Airbus-like consortium of vehicle and technology manufacturers to develop and build electric vehicle batteries in the future. 

In an interview with the Financial Times, Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission, said that as electric car demand continues to grow, Europe cannot afford to get left behind by Asian and American battery producers, and that the region needs its own battery cell production facilities. 

How to charge a car battery

While the US, China and Japan all have factories in place for building the latest lithium-ion cells and batteries, there’s not a single factory in Europe. Investment bank Goldman Sachs has previously estimated the demand for lithium-ion batteries to reach $40 billion (£35.5bn) by 2025. 

Sefcovic said that Europe cannot have any “Kodak moments”, where an industry fails to keep up with the latest technology and struggles as a result. Instead, Sefcovic said he wants to see European manufacturers group together and pursue economies of scale like they did in the aerospace industry when creating Airbus.

“What we need is an Airbus for batteries," he explained. "In the 1960s, we had a lot of smaller companies with cutting edge but what they missed was the scale. We needed the Germans, the French and other Europeans to get together and to develop what today is a marvellous plane.”

Should European carmakers and chemical plants join forces to develop and manufacture the latest lithium-ion batteries?  

Ultimate guide to electric cars

Recommended

Four million people in the UK have fallen asleep while driving
Tired driver
News

Four million people in the UK have fallen asleep while driving

Research produces worrying revelation that four million UK motorists have nodded off behind the wheel at some point
16 Jun 2021
Thatcham approved devices and crash tests explained
Joe Finnerty in Hyper G sled
Consumer news

Thatcham approved devices and crash tests explained

Thatcham studies crashes, rates alarms and sets insurance groups to help cut drivers’ costs. We find out how
11 May 2021
Company car tax guide 2021/2022: everything you need to know
Executive saloons make popular company cars
Consumer news

Company car tax guide 2021/2022: everything you need to know

Company car tax is bound up in a complex net of emissions, salaries and a car's value; we explain how the system looks for the 2021/22 Financial Year
27 Apr 2021
No new smart motorways to open without stopped vehicle detection
smart motorway
News

No new smart motorways to open without stopped vehicle detection

Implementation of SVD technology to be accelerated, with existing smart motorways getting the system six months earlier than planned
21 Apr 2021

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e
Fiat 500 vs Honda e vs MINI Electric
Car group tests

Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e

The new Fiat 500, MINI Electric and Honda e are three retro-inspired electric superminis - but which is best?
19 Jun 2021
New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review
Audi Q4 e-tron 2021  front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review

We get involved with the new all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron SUV on UK roads for the first time
17 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review
Volkswagen ID.4 GTX
Volkswagen ID.4 SUV

New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review

VW ID.4 EV gets another electric motor and four-wheel drive in hot GTX form
21 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review
Volkswagen Caddy California MPV - front
Volkswagen Caddy

New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review

It’s a family hauler and weekend camper all rolled into one, but is the Volkswagen Caddy California any good?
21 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review
Nissan Qashqai 2021
Nissan Qashqai

New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the larger, more comfortable and higher-tech Nissan Qashqai SUV in the UK
16 Jun 2021
Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition revealed
Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition
Ford Puma

Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition revealed

Ford unveils a special edition Puma ST, with a black and gold colour scheme chosen by Ford fans over social media
18 Jun 2021
New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power
Vauxhall Astra render
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power

The new Vauxhall Astra will get a plug-in hybrid powertrain and a more premium image - here’s how it could look
17 Jun 2021
New Mercedes C-Class 2021 review
Mercedes C-Class - front
Mercedes C-Class

New Mercedes C-Class 2021 review

The new Mercedes C-Class compact exec gets S-Class-inspired tech and new suspension to challenge the BMW 3 Series
21 Jun 2021
Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services
Tesla Model 3 police car - front
News

Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services

Tesla hopes to offer UK police forces a new zero-emission emergency responder option with the Model 3 police car
17 Jun 2021