Europe explore new battery production lines following COVID-19 shortage

With electric battery supply chains and production lines under extreme strain due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the shutdown of Chinese manufacturing, countries in the European Union have significantly upped their investments in battery technology research to source their own supplies.

Carmakers around the world were caught off guard when China manufacturers, their main source for car parts, tools and supplies, were forced into shutdown earlier this year.

This shutdown caused chaos, as production lines were delayed and auto makers were forced to close their own plants around the world as parts became scarce.

One industry heavily impacted by the shutdowns was the battery market, with most lithium-ion batteries supplied to electric vehicle (EV) makers coming out of China.

Looking to prevent such a situation happening again and reducing the reliance on China for battery stock, several European countries have laid out significant investments in battery research and innovation.

Led by the European Union, who have invested A$865.5 million in battery research projects and the European Commission, who have invested A5.5 billion in similar projects, new battery projects will commence across the region, pushing Europe towards an electric vehicle future.

“The amount of money that Europe is ploughing into this industry eclipses pretty much every other economy, certainly every other western economy,” said Keith Coughlan, managing director at European Metals Holdings.

“And the interesting things is, what we’ve seen in the last few months with regards to COVID-91 has only highlighted more the need and desire to have a local supply chain and not be reliant on other jurisdictions, particularly Asia.”

Germany ($1 billion), France ($700 million) and Poland ($130 million) have also all invested in their own battery market industries in recent times.

Utility companies are also getting in on the budding industry growth, with the Czech Republic based CEZ Group agreeing to a $48.3 billion deal to take a 51 per cent stake in European Metals, a mineral exploration and development company that owns the Cinovec lithium and tin project.

CEZ Group are one of the largest power utilities in Central and Eastern Europe and is 70 per cent owned by the government of the Czech Republic.

Through the Cinovec project, European Metals are looking to produce battery grade lithium hydroxide and battery grade lithium carbonate, two materials used in battery development.

Source: Stockhead | COVID-19 has only strengthened Europe’s resolve to build its own battery metals supply chain

29 April 2020

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