‘European battery revolution’ will lead to 5 million new jobs
Europe is going to bet heavily on giant battery factories for electric cars. This should create 4 to 5 million new jobs. EU will invest itself 2,2 billion euro to get the process going.
That’s the main conclusion of a meeting that was held on Wednesday in Brussels with the Energy Commissioner for the EU, the Slovak Maros Sefcovic, and a host of industrial company’s like Solvay, Umicore, Siemens, BASF and Renault.
At present, battery production is almost entirely in the hands of Asian or American players. The Chinese stand by themselves for 55%. Japanese and Korean firms are also big players. Only 2,5% of the world’s battery production is European. ‘We cannot give that market to competitors’, Sefcovic said. He has promised 2,2 billion euro to get Europe on board.
What exactly will be done to come to an Airbus-like scenario in rounding up European industry for battery production, wasn’t clear yet after Thursday’s meeting. Sefcovic said the declaration of intent was the most important for now, but it has to become more specific soon as the arrears for Europe are getting larger.
Need for better batteries
There are a few simple reasons why Europe is supporting the roll-out of batteries. First of all, it’s an imperative if Europe is serious about the transition into e-mobility. Secondly, there is still much to be gained from the development of electrical energy storage.
Consumers are still hesitating to buy a plug-in car because of the charging times, the higher price and the limited range. These shortcomings can be remedied with better and higher capacity batteries.
Beneficial for Belgium
If there is a substantial European production, it can be beneficial for suppliers in Belgium. For example, chemical group Solvay supplies salts and polymers to improve battery performance, safety and life at lower cost.
Umicore on the other hand supplies cathodes,’ the heart of the battery’. The materials group also has expertise in the recycling of raw materials when a battery comes to the end of its life cycle.
But the initiative should particularly support the whole of European industry and companies that are successful in doing so are waiting for a large market. The number of electric vehicles in Europe is increasing and by 2025, as the result of stricter rules for cleaner transport, a quarter of all new cars sold should be emission-free.