(Bloomberg) — Outside the German town of Arnstadt, workers for China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) are hustling to build Europe’s biggest electric-car battery plant.
The site, which covers an area equivalent to about 100 football fields, previously housed one of the continent’s largest solar-panel factories. During a visit in October, wooden crates filled with surplus equipment were stacked up outside the metal-clad structure to make way for car-battery-making equipment. Roaring bulldozers swarmed a nearby lot to prep for construction of a new building.
The $2 billion project—one of about a half dozen battery factories under construction in Germany alone—worries European policymakers, who are desperate to ensure their auto industry doesn’t lose competitiveness in the transition to electric vehicles.
EV sales in Europe are expected to jump to 7.7 million in 2030 from just under half a million in 2019, according to forecasts from BloombergNEF. Those vehicles will mainly be powered by batteries from Asian manufacturers like CATL, unless European companies fight back and build a local supply chain.
EVs and clean transportation are at the heart of the European Union’s Green Deal, a more than €1 trillion ($1.1 trillion) European Commission policy initiative aimed at making the EU carbon neutral by 2050.
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