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Nearly two-thirds of the world's lithium batteries for electric vehicles are produced in China, and the European electric car dreams
Nov 01, 2018


Abstract: "Europe may have a more resounding car brand, but compared to China, they are losing the future of this industry."

“Europe may have a more resounding car brand, but compared to China, they are losing the future of this industry.”

On the 30th, CNN News Network pointed out that China is smashing the dream of electric cars in Europe, pointing out that China's advantages in the lithium battery market of electric vehicles have made Europe aware of the gap.  In this wave of changes in the automotive industry, many European car companies have chosen to go to China.  If you want to stay in the local market, the Europeans are also aware of a problem: you can't catch up, "the car has already left."

The article pointed out that the Chinese market has become the "steel stone" of the global electric car dealers.

In addition to Tesla and Ford in the United States, Volkswagen announced in November last year that it plans to invest 12 billion U.S. dollars in China by 2025, preparing to produce 40 electric and hybrid vehicles.

For these companies, there are three advantages to producing electric vehicles in China: they can avoid heavy tariffs in the current global trade situation; China is the world's largest electric vehicle market; but more importantly, as the core technology in this field In part, the lithium battery industry is booming in China.

Nearly two-thirds of the world's lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles are produced in China, while lithium batteries produced in Europe account for only 1% of the market.  Wood Mackenzie, an international consulting firm, believes that "where the lithium battery is produced the most, where is the car, the logic is simple."

The EU has also begun to pay attention to the local lithium battery industry in recent years.  The European Commission just announced on October 15 that it will increase government subsidies for lithium battery production.  Even so, some European lithium battery manufacturers are more willing to come to China.

In the middle of this month, during the visit of the Prime Minister to the Netherlands, he signed a cooperation document with the country’s Prime Minister Lut.  Lithium Werks, a Dutch lithium battery company, announced on the 16th that it will invest US$1.8 billion in Jiashan, Zhejiang Province, and establish a joint venture with a Chinese company. It is expected that the total installed capacity of batteries will be used for 160,000 vehicles per year.

Kees Koolen, president of Lithium Wreks, believes that the company chose to take this move because China's infrastructure is better and the procedures required to set up a factory are more simplified: "The Chinese government is more far-sighted in this industry, and Europe does not. It takes a lot of time for all kinds of rules and regulations."

Many experts believe that Europe's start-up reaction in the field of lithium batteries is too late because European car companies have a "thinking fascination" with traditional models.  "They didn't take the electric car seriously before. For a long time, these big-name manufacturers "only know the production of gasoline cars.  ”

On the other hand, Chinese automakers have already negotiated supply cooperation with battery raw materials (lithium, cobalt, etc.) with rich countries such as Australia, Chile and Argentina.  This will make China's lithium battery capacity will account for 62% of the world by 2020.  If European companies are still building their own lithium battery industry, it is too late. "This car has already been driven away."

Europe is fighting against China in this field. I am afraid there is only one way to go. It is like setting up a "Lithium Battery Airbus" like the Boeing of the United States.

European car companies have clearly realized the gap between themselves and China.  But on the other hand, China, which is in a dominant position, cannot "sit back and relax."  It is pointed out that China's electric vehicle industry needs to be prepared to “decrease government subsidies year after year” and also need to come up with a viable and scalable business model to create an ecosystem for the prosperity of the industry.

Some experts also pointed out that although China's lithium battery industry is now like a "prosperous world", but the resource development and utilization capacity is backward, the power battery technology level is not high, and the battery recycling and reuse system is blank, which limits the industrial competitiveness.  State-owned enterprises have entered the field of solid-state lithium batteries late, and are mainly supported by scientific research institutions or institutions, and the industrialization process is slow.  From a global perspective, although European and American companies have lost their position in this round of competition, they are laying the groundwork for the next stage of competition and are potential strong competitors.

Source: Observer Network