Germany enters car battery technology race

EPA-EFE/Omer Messinger

Germany enters car battery technology race


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Germany’s Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier committed to investing €1 billion to the German car manufacturing industry as part of an initiative to develop innovative car battery technology

Despite the strategic significance of car manufacturing for Germany, the industry has been reluctant to invest in batteries and is losing ground to China, Japan, and South Korea, a significant development as approximately half a million German jobs depend on car exports.

According to a 2014 European Commission report, Asian manufacturers hold an 88% share of global Lithium-ion manufacturing capacity, of which 50% is Chinese. Europe holds only a 4% share, and the fear is that established battery cell producers could push traditional car manufacturers aside and built their own vehicles.

The German government wants to push for a 30% share of the global market by 2030 in order to compete with China’s strategic advances that have seen Beijing fund and take-over several German startups.

One of the most advanced European companies in the car battery sector is Sweden’s Northolt, which is headed by a former Tesla executive.  Germany’s Siemens is planning a partnership with Northvolt to supply BMW with car batteries by 2020. The venture could result in the biggest lithium battery manufacturing plant in Europe.

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