You can’t build electric vehicles without batteries, as Elon Musk recognized years ago when he announced his intention to build the first of Tesla’s Gigafactories (and coined a new word). Musk and others have estimated that the world will need several dozen gigabyte battery factories once electric vehicles start mass production.
Above: A preview of what Tesla’s Berlin Gigafactory should look like when completed (Source: Tesla)
It’s not just a question of volume, geography and politics also come into play. At present, most of the global production of electric vehicle batteries is in Asia, an untenable situation for governments in North America and Europe who wish to promote the adoption of electric vehicles and create green jobs. And of course, it is environmentally friendly to produce batteries as close as possible to where the vehicles will be produced and sold.
Thus, the world will have many more giga-factories (and the word will lose its capitalization). The scene is really heating up in Europe, where government and industry have gone to great lengths to produce batteries nationally. According to a new report from the nonprofit Transport & Environment (via The Next Web), as of May 2021, 38 gigafactories of batteries were under construction or in planning in Europe and the UK.
Electric vehicle sales are poised to experience great global growth, and as T&E reports, Europe’s strong domestic electric vehicle market, pre-existing industrial base and high environmental standards place the continent on the catbird seat to capture a healthy share of the market.
Above: an overview of some of the giant battery factories under construction across Germany (YouTube: Germany Trade & Invest)
“Investments in batteries are booming thanks in large part to the rapid growth in sales of electric vehicles seen across Europe in 2020/21, closely reflecting regulatory requirements, including European standards on CO2 in cars.” , says T&E. In 2020, T&E predicted that Volkswagen would sell 9.6% electric vehicles in order to meet its CO2 targets. The share of final sales was 9.7%.
Of the 38 ongoing projects, 17 have secured funding to date, representing around $ 30 billion in total investment. Ten other projects, representing an additional $ 16.8 billion, have obtained partial funding, and 11 more gigafactories were recently announced, but have not confirmed funding.
Several national projects are underway – companies planning factories under public / private partnerships include Verkor in France, Britishvolt in the UK, Italvolt in Italy, Basquevolt-Nabatt in Spain and Freyr in Norway. European companies aren’t the only ones to benefit from the largesse: Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin has received some $ 1.4 billion in German federal and state support.
If the 38 gigafactories make it into production, they could deliver up to 462 GWh of battery cells by 2025 and 1,144 GWh by 2030, enough to power over 90% of expected new vehicle sales this year – the. According to Transport & Environment’s analysis, this would give Europe a 20% market share of global cell production by 2025, placing it just behind China.
Written by: Charles Morris; Source: Transport & Environment via TNW