France will invest €700 million (US$788.8 million) over the next five years to boost the European battery industry and reduce reliance on Asian battery makers, President Emmanuel Macron has said.
Speaking to the International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers in Paris, Macron said that Europe needs a “wake-up call” on batteries, referencing the threat of external dependence for an increasingly vital resource in an era of international trade wars.
“In terms of sovereignty and independence, I think it’s not good in the long run for our industry to be 100 per cent reliant on non-Europeans,” Macron was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“China has a very aggressive strategy to eventually dominate the electric vehicle (EV) universe by starting from electric batteries all the way up the value chain.”
While some European carmakers do carry out battery pack assembly on the continent, there is currently no significant European cell production, meaning car manufacturers receive their supply from a small number of dominant Asian firms, such as China’s CATL, and Korea’s LG Chem and Samsung.
French car manufacturer Renault said that it could buy battery cells from a European supplier as it ramps up EV production, while Peugeot-maker Groupe PSA has already voiced its support for establishing European manufacturing of EV batteries.
This announcement comes months after Germany pledged to pump €1 billion to establish battery cell production in the country by 2021, as the country looks to mollify the impact of a global shift away from combustion engines.
Macron went on to say: “the project will lead to the building of two battery factories, one in France and the other one in Germany.”
Under the project, provision would also be made to facilitate the construction of EV charging points, to increase visibility of EV bonuses to consumers, and to increase the government’s EV purchasing targets.