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Germany and France to Build Battery Manufacturing Plants in Europe
To Reduce Dependence on Products from Asia
Germany and France to Build Battery Manufacturing Plants in Europe
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • October 1, 2019, 08:46
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German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier (left), French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire (center), and European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic announce the Airbus Battery Project on May 2.

A battery industry consortium led by the French and German governments is about to build electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing plants to reduce Europe’s dependence on products from Asia.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire recently announced that the first plant of the consortium would be put into operation in France in 2022 and its second plant would be put into operation in Germany in 2024.

The announcement is a part of the Airbus Battery Project, in which France and Germany are going to invest up to six billion euros for four years. In the battery manufacturing plant construction project unveiled on May 2 this year, France and Germany will invest 700 million euros and one billion euros as their initial investment, respectively.

The construction of the first plant will kick off in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France within this year, led by French battery company Saft and gas company Total. The French and German governments recently requested the European Commission to approve national subsidies for the consortium members.

The announcement means that European countries are now cooperating in earnest to keep Asian battery manufacturers in check. At present, the automobile industry is a big part of both the French and German economies, and yet European automakers’ reliance on the manufacturers’ EV batteries is close to 100 percent. South Korean, Chinese and Japanese battery manufacturers are currently the top 10 in the industry in terms of production volume.

According to the Ministry of Economy of Germany, EU member countries are discussing the organization of another battery industry consortium and German automakers such as BMW are expected to join it. The automakers are being supplied with EV batteries from Asia, and they are likely to reorganize their supply networks based on their participation in the consortium.