Battery production is a strategic imperative and the European Union has to move fast to remain competitive in this global market, European Commission Vice-President responsible for Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič, said in his speech on May 29 during the first European Parliament Plenary since the EU adopted the 3rd Mobility Package. “It has huge potential for investment and jobs – up to €250 billion a year,” he said, refereeing to the EU’s Strategic Action Plan on Batteries.

Šefčovič said the action plan puts forward a robust set of measures that includes ensuring access to critical raw materials and limiting their use; stepping up EU research and innovation to better link it with the industry’s future needs, establishing robust regulatory requirements for safe and sustainable batteries, production to comply with when placed on the EU market, and developing the skills we need in Europe to develop and deploy the next generation of high performing sustainable battery technology.

The European Commission is already working with the EU Member States, the European Investment Bank, and industrial consortia to support large-scale manufacturing projects in Europe as part of the EU Battery Alliance, said Šefčovič.

“This is the last time legislative package proposed under the Energy Union strategy. It is clear that the Energy Union and its transition to clean energy will have a strong long-term positive impact on all of us, and on the future of our mobility,” Šefčovič said. “By producing key technological solutions at scale, including sustainable batteries, and deploying key infrastructure, we will get closer to a triple zero: zero emission, zero congestion, and zero accident.”

On May 25, German conglomerate Siemens and Sweden’s Northvolt signed a partnership for the development of best-in-class technology to produce high-quality, green lithium-ion batteries in a digital factory in Europe, Siemens said in a press release. The partnership will be supported by Siemens through an investment of €10 million.

“We are happy to support Northvolt in building the battery factory of the future. With our Digital Enterprise portfolio, we contribute to a competitive battery cell production in Europe that fully exploits the benefits of software and automation: greater flexibility, efficiency and quality with shorter time to market,” Siemens Digital Factory Division CEO Jan Mrosik said.

Siemens Nordics President and CEO Ulf Troedsson said Northvolt is driving production to build a battery with very low CO2 footprint. “Our Digital Enterprise portfolio will support Northvolt in building a state-of-the-art battery plant. We are excited to go in as a partner in this project.”

Once completed in 2020, Siemens intends to purchase batteries from the factory, making Northvolt a preferred supplier. Siemens will support the partnership through an investment of €10 million, whichSiemens company sees as a reference project for the battery production of the future that will rely on the integration and digitisation of the entire value chain, from the design of the battery cell through production planning, engineering, and production to services.

Northvolt Co-Founder and CEO Peter Carlsson said the European battery industry is moving rapidly towards electrification. “With its world-class expertise within electrification, automation and digitalisation, Siemens will become an important technology partner, supplier and customer to Northvolt in this coming transition. Once we begin large-scale production, our aim is to supply the greenest lithium-ion batteries in the world,” Carlsson said.