The European Union is accelerating plans to develop lithium mining and refining capacity on its territory as part of a concerted EU push to develop a strategic value chain for manufacturing electric car batteries inside Europe.
With the electrification of transport, the race to develop a complete battery manufacturing value chain in Europe is now underway. And despite a slow start, the EU is rapidly catching up. One year ago, the European Commission launched a European Battery Alliance, bringing together automakers, chemical and engineering executives in a bid to compete with Asian and American manufacturers.
The objective is to build a whole value chain for the manufacturing of batteries in Europe, a strategy that came to the forefront earlier this year when the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced financing to build Europe’s largest battery factory, in Sweden.
In order to complete the value chain, Europe now wants to secure access to the raw materials needed to manufacture the latest generation of car batteries, relying on lithium-ion technology.
“We are working a lot on batteries and the discussions there focus on cobalt, lithium, nickel and copper,” said Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission vice-president in charge of the energy union, one of the EU’s flagship projects. Inside Europe, attention has focused on mapping out the raw materials available on European soil so they can be exploited in a sustainable way.