By 2027, Europe has the potential to rely entirely on domestic battery cell production and meet demand for electric vehicles and energy storage without any imports from China. That is according to the last prediction by Transport & Environment (T&E), a campaign group, which analyzed a range of manufacturer reports and press releases.
The European NGO further estimates that by 2030 the companies with the largest battery cell production on the continent will be CATL, Northvolt, ACC, Freyr and the Volkswagen Group.
About two-thirds of Europe’s need for cathodes – an integral battery component – could also be produced in-house, the report says. So far, 12 companies plan to enter this part of the battery supply chain, with 17 factories announced in the region. Existing and planned projects include Umicore in Poland, Northvolt in Sweden and BASF in Germany.
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Projections on lithium refining and processing are also optimistic. While 100% of the refined lithium needed for European batteries is imported from China and other countries, the block is expected to meet 50% of its demand by 2030. T&E has so far identified 24 projects, including Vulcan Energy Resources in Germany and Eramet in France.
However, the NGO warns that these scenarios will not materialize unless they are backed by sufficient and timely funding, stressing that the US’ Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) could attract European talent and factories to America.
“Europe needs the financial firepower to support its green industries in the global race with America and China,” said Julia Poliscanova, senior director for vehicles and e-mobility at T&E, said. “A European Sovereignty Fund would support a truly European industrial strategy and not just countries with deep pockets. But the spending rules must be streamlined so that the construction of a battery power station does not take as much time as a coal-fired power station.”