July 6, 2023: European Commission VP and batteries czar Maroš Šefčovič has said the bloc is monitoring “massive” Chinese and US battery industry subsidies — but signalled a conciliatory approach to protecting European manufacturers.
Šefčovič said while attending the opening of BASF’s joint center for battery material production and battery recycling in Germany on June 29: “We are looking carefully at China’s massive subsidies to its industry, in particular clean-tech innovation and manufacturing, and ways to protect our own.”
The EU is also in contact with its “US friends” regarding the Inflation Reduction Act, which he said could lead to unfair competition, close markets, and fragment critical supply chains.
Such incentives in several countries are affecting the EU’s capacity to succeed in the green and digital transition.
Šefčovič said the EU still needed to work and trade with China but should “focus on de-risking rather than decoupling”.
However, where trade is not fair, he said Europe must respond more robustly.
According to BASF, its new plant in Schwarzheide is Germany’s first production site for high-performance cathode materials and also the first fully automatic large-scale production plant for cathode materials in Europe.
The plant is sold out for the next few years and will supply products tailored to the specific requirements of cell manufacturers and automobile manufacturers in Europe.
Meanwhile, Šefčovič, who has championed the European Battery Alliance that was set up in 2017, said it has attracted more than €180 billion ($196 billion) of investments to date.
“There are now more than 160 industrial projects being developed along the entire value chain, with around 30 announced lithium-ion gigafactories and around 70GWh installed capacity by 2022.
Photo: EU Audiovisual Service