The German economic ministry has indicated EU Member States are in discussions over the potential formation of a second electric vehicle (EV) battery consortium.
The first EU battery consortium was established in May by France and Germany, with joint planned investment of between €5bn and €6bn; and was aimed at reducing the dependence of electric vehicle manufacturers on batteries imported from outside the EU: currently, only 3% of the global car battery manufacturing industry is based in EU Member States. Germany’s economic ministry has said it will release a further €1bn to maintain and enhance the ‘automotive value chain’ in Germany and across the EU. In a statement, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said: “Germany and Europe need to develop and build competitive, innovative and environmentally sustainable battery cells.”
The EU’s automotive industries are promoting the shift to low- and zero-emission vehicles in the interest of meeting increasingly strict EU targets on emissions reduction. Germany, whose car manufacturing industry comprises around 12% of the country’s total GDP, has announced it is in negotiations with its fellow Member States and the European Commission with the aim of finalising two ‘Important Projects of Common European Interest’. Both projects are set to feature significant participation from German industry bodies.
Germany’s Volkswagen Group, whose 2015 ‘Dieselgate’ scandal raised awareness worldwide of high levels of emissions from diesel-powered cars, has announced separately that it will partner with Swedish firm Northvolt AB to build a battery plant in Germany with a projected annual capacity of 16 gigawatt hours.
Dr Stefan Sommer, Member of the Volkswagen AG Board of Management responsible for Procurement, said: “Volkswagen is laying the groundwork at all levels for the successful implementation of its electrification strategy. With Northvolt, we have now also found a European partner whose knowhow and sustainable, CO2-optimised battery cell production processes will enable us to advance cell production here in Germany.”