France pushes Europe battery consortium

November 22, 2018 16:33 CET

PARIS — France called on Thursday for European battery manufacturers and automakers to create a consortium able to meet the anticipated demand for electric vehicles and compete with dominant Asian producers.

“It (a consortium) must be at the European level because the French market alone will not be enough,” Energy Minister Francois de Rugy told Reuters following a cabinet meeting.

Several projects have been announced in recent months to build battery plants in Europe and last week the German government said it had set aside around 1 billion euros ($1.14billion) to support battery cell production.

Berlin aims to have 30 percent of such production coming from Germany and Europe by 2030.

Europe, with the backing of the European Commission, is racing to set up a viable industrial battery sector as the bloc’s automakers mostly depend on Asian suppliers.

Asked after if there was a potential for deal between the automakers and battery companies such as French energy firm Total through its battery subsidiary Saft, de Rugy said: “We are hoping to see some progress early next year.”

“We support the creation of a European battery sector. We are working with the industry, particular those in France, to build this sector,” de Rugy said.

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