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Battery tigers show their stripes— and won’t be tamed

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 10:36 -- John Shepherd

If there was any doubt that, in a gloomy global economic outlook, China might ease up on its frenetic pace to be a dominating force in the world’s EV battery market, think again.

Battery and carmaker CATL had already pledged to set up a major battery cells manufacturing base in Germany but, as one of our latest stories reveals, the company is ready to sink more than a billion euros into that one project alone to show it means business in Europe.

It’s clear Chinese players— and most likely other Asian battery ‘tigers’ too— are not going to be scared off or tamed by any commercial challenges from European consortia.

Meanwhile, Germany’s economy minister has said his government could end up putting cash into three such consortia, all whose job it will be to keep Asian battery makers such as CATL from eating into the rich pickings expected from future sales of batteries for EVs in Europe.

The irony is of course that CATL for one will also be cheerfully pocketing some state aid from Germany for its new facility— while at the same time competing with the Europeans!

“May you live in interesting times” is a quotation that is purported to be a Chinese curse, but whose true origin remains questionable. However, it certainly sums up the current state of play for the battery industry.