Recently, the European Federation for Transport and Environment asked IHS Markit to analyze the automobile market in the EU and predict what the future for electric cars will be like in the near term. The analysis found that manufacturers plan to triple the number of models with plugs by the end of 2021 — from 60 today to 210 — just eighteen months from now. Of those, 92 will be battery electric and 118 will be plug-in hybrids.
According to a report by the BBC, if that prediction holds true, 22% of vehicles produced and sold in the EU could have a plug by 2025. If this happens, that would make it possible for car makers to easily meet the 95 grams per kilometer carbon dioxide emissions goal required by EU regulations by 2025.
“Thanks to the EU car CO2 standards, Europe is about to see a wave of new, longer range, and more affordable electric cars hit the market,” said Lucien Mathieu, a transport and e-mobility analyst at T&E. “That is good news, but the job is not yet done. We need governments to help roll out electric vehicle charging at home and at work, and we need changes to car taxation to make electric cars even more attractive than polluting diesel, petrol or poor plug-in hybrid vehicles.”
More European Batteries For More European Electric Cars
The Continent will need one more thing to make the IHS Markit prediction a reality — a larger supply of batteries to power all those electric cars. Green Tech Media this week is featuring a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that says lithium ion battery production in Europe will top 198 gigawatt-hours by 2023 — up dramatically from 18 gigawatt-hours today. “Europe is moving away from being a laggard to committing serious amounts of capital and state support,” according to Logan Goldie-Scot, head of energy storage at BNEF.
That will move Europe past the United States in total battery production, most of which comes from Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. But it will pale in comparison to the 800 gigawatt-hours per year Chinese manufacturers are expected to produce by 2023 — two thirds of the global total of 1.2 terawatt-hours.
What worries European leaders is that much of the production capacity on the Continent will be owned by Chinese companies. In a report published in April, the European Commission warned: “The EU’s high dependency on battery cell imports could expose industry to high costs and risks in the supply chain and undermine the automotive industry’s ability to compete with foreign competitors.”
Contemporary Amperex Technology is investing in a 14-gigawatt-hour-a-year battery factory in Germany, and EV supply deals with German carmakers BMW and Volkswagen. Svolt Energy Technology, also a Chinese corporation, is planning a European factory with a capacity 24 gigawatt-hours a year by 2025.
South Korean manufacturers are also pushing into the European battery market. LG Chem, Samsung SDI, and SK Innovation are all planning larger operations on the Continent. Just this month another South Korean company, Inzi Controls, announced it will invest just over $50 million in a lithium ion factory in Hungary it expects to begin operating in 2020.
Germany and France have led European efforts to create a domestic battery manufacturing industry. Together they created the European Battery Alliance which is tasked with €100 billion in investments in the battery supply chain with 400 gigawatt-hours a year of battery manufacturing capacity expected by 2025. Getting there will require the construction of up to 25 large battery factories. The European Commission statement is vague on whether some of them might be Asian-owned factories.
Last month, Swedish battery maker Northvolt completed a $1 billion equity capital raise “to enable Europe’s first homegrown gigafactories for lithium-ion batteries.” But Rory McCarthy, senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, says the Northvolt investment “doesn’t add up to a huge amount of capacity in the grand scheme of things.
But that is far more than the £28 million investment by the UK in its Battery Industrialization Center announced recently by Andrew Stephenson, the U.K. Minister for Business and Industry. That money is in addition to the £100 million already pledged for the center. “In the face of the governments of Germany and France backing billions in investment, £28 million is missing a couple of digits,” Rory McCarthy says.
The Writing On The Wall
The EV revolution is exploding in China. Europe has taken notice and is trying to accelerate into the fast lane of electric car development. The UK is twiddling its thumbs and the US is nowhere to be found — except for Tesla — in the push for zero emissions transportation.
In a recent comment to an article about the Model S, CleanTechnica stalwart Ed shared a chart he created that illustrates the level of commitment to electric cars around the world. Thanks, Ed. Your invitation to the next baked brie bash at CleanTechnica world headquarters is in the mail!
The chart says graphically what many of us have noticed anecdotally — the US is racing as fast as possible back to the good old days of tailfins and cubic inches. Things are not going to end well for US auto manufacturers.
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