No “Anti-Asian” in European Policies for Battery Industry: Europe-Asia Collaboration Critical for Building Battery Value Chain in Europe
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has conducted a survey on the battery industry in Europe, and found out the backgrounds of current policies, the regulations regarding batteries, the R&D projects, the trends at market players, and the future perspective.
Summary of Research Findings
In Europe, prevalence of xEVs (next generation electric vehicles) is under the government initiative. Amid their tougher emissions rules and fines for violation, automotive companies have no choice but to comply with the rules. Meanwhile, the rapid expansion of xEVs has created a battery (secondary cell) procurement issue.
Currently, Asia is the center of a battery supply chain, and there are hardly any battery plants in Europe. Although Korean and Chinese cell producers (battery makers) have built manufacturing bases in Europe, their production capacity is not enough to cover a huge demand for xEV batteries in Europe. Moreover, as there is a concern that Europe will lose out to Asia for being reliant on Asian batteries, which is the core technology of xEVs, European countries are rushing to take the initiatives to establish a battery supply chain in Europe without non-European makers.
However, it is impracticable to build the supply chain by European enterprises only since they are technologically immature and unexperienced. Taking into account the various regulations and anticipations, it is necessary for Europe and Asia to find a way to coexist.
Exhaustive Implementation of Policies for Building Battery Value Chain in Europe
A baseline of current European policy initiatives for establishment of battery value chain is the “Paris Agreement (Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)”, the new international framework which aimed to reduce the gas emissions that contribute to global warming after 2020. In the end of 2019, the European Union also released “The European Green Deal”, which is a growth strategy with environmental policy as its main pillar, to help the EU achieve its ambitious long-term goal of climate neutrality by 2050. Reaching this objective entails transformation of mobility and utilization of clean energy, and expansion of electric vehicles and energy storages using battery as a core component will be a key driver of attaining the goal hereafter.
On the other hand, Europe currently relies almost completely on imports from Asia for core elements of battery value chain, i.e. procurement of raw materials (actual materials are from African countries), other materials, components, and battery cells. So far, European sectors are relatively developed only in the field of battery pack assembly, EV manufacturing, and battery recycling. To discontinue reliance on Asian suppliers and to build independent battery value chain in Europe is an extremely critical factor to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. European states implement various environmental/battery policies, propose regulations on batteries, and provide government funding to build the battery value chain.
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