The global battery race: Europe’s strategic perspectives

Planned and existing battery cell production by country/region
Europe is a laggard when it comes to battery production (source: macpixxel for GIS)
  • Asia and the U.S. are outpacing Europe in the battery industry
  • The European Commission has put in place a strategy to narrow the gap
  • Businesses, however, remain reluctant because of costs and other uncertainties
  • Allowing China to dominate the European market will have severe geopolitical consequences

Europe was slow to discover how geopolitically disruptive the revolution in battery technology could become. Now, however, the European Union has identified batteries as the “heart of the ongoing industrial revolution,” playing a strategic role in the world’s transition to clean mobility and energy systems. Still, the European auto industry has been reluctant to get behind calls to create an “Airbus for batteries,” largely due to uncertainties surrounding the future of lithium-ion batteries, costs for manufacturing batteries in Europe and the possibility for overcapacity in the industry by as early as 2021. Holding back, however, could give China tremendous geopolitical influence.

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