Europe will be the world’s biggest battery producer by 2024
Europe is still on his way to become the world’s biggest producer of lithium-ion battery cells after China. “Despite the pandemic, Europe remains on track to overtake the US and the rest of Asia by 2024. European batteries are seen as crucial for the future competitiveness of the European car industry. Batteries can account for about half the cost of an electric car. European carmakers are today almost entirely dependent on imported battery cells from China. The future is electric. In the massive migration from fossil to electric, the availability of capable batteries is a major issue. The need for efficient batteries – for transport, power and industrial applications – is growing fast and at an increasing pace.
European battery production has long lagged behind its competitor regions, namely China and the US. But efforts are now being made to catch up. The European Commission, which in 2017 launched the European Battery Alliance (EBA), sees battery production as “a strategic imperative for clean energy transition.” The EBA is tasked with guiding investments into battery manufacturing worth some 100 billion euros ($113 billion). The immediate objective is to create a competitive manufacturing value chain in Europe with sustainable battery cells at its core. This is seen as a prerequisite in order to prevent a technological dependence on its competitors and capitalise on the job, growth and investment potential of batteries.
However, Europe will need to move fast in order to keep up in the global race. According to some forecasts, Europe could capture a battery market of up to €250 billion a year from 2025 onwards. EU demand alone is expected to require at least 10 to 20 ‘giga-factories’ (large-scale battery cell production facilities). In a recent report, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) said that it expects European nameplate lithium-ion battery manufacturing capacity to top 198 gigawatt-hours a year by 2023, up from roughly 18 gigawatt-hours a year today. “This more than tenfold growth over the next few years should allow Europe to overtake North America, which is set to have around 130 gigawatt-hours a year of manufacturing capacity by 2023,” said Logan Goldie-Scot, head of energy storage at BNEF.