Automotive News   |   Automotive News Europe   |   Autoweek   |   Automobilwoche

Automotive News China Newsletter
Register our free newsletter, sent each Monday and Thursday

     Automakers   Suppliers   Auto Show   Comment   Car Cutaway   Newsletters   Press Releases   Chinese Version   Register for Newsletter
  Contact Us:   Editorial   Advertising   Subscription Information   |   About Us   Media Kit
Home Email this story   Print this story
 
2017 FRANKFURT AUTO SHOW
In Europe, a call to innovate and build batteries, or lose more jobs to China
Reuters | 2017/9/15

FRANKFURT -- Europe shouldn't rush to abandon the combustion engine and must build up its own production of electric vehicle batteries to compete with China, auto suppliers and manufacturers said at the Frankfurt auto show.

The comments come as the future of the car has become a hot topic in campaigning ahead of Germany's Sept. 24 election, especially after Britain and France announced plans to eventually phase out combustion engines to try to cut pollution.

Roberto Vavassori, president of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers, warned a headlong rush to EVs would hand business to China, which along with South Korea and Japan dominate battery production for such vehicles.

"We need to provide a sensible transition period that doesn't give unwanted gifts to our Chinese friends," he said, estimating European automakers were paying 4,000-7,000 euros ($5,000-8,000) to China for batteries for every EV.

Vavassori called for a European drive to develop the next generation of battery cells. He said carmakers and politicians should look at other ways of cutting vehicle emissions too, such as more efficient engines and synthetic fuels.

Germany's Daimler and Volkswagen both announced plans on the eve of the Frankfurt show to accelerate their shift to EVs.

The head of Volkswagen's core auto division said on Wednesday that European industry should come together to create a regional supplier of batteries.

"For the initial phase, I still feel in good hands with the Korean suppliers, but I would appreciate if competition were to grow and a European consortium would emerge," VW brand CEO Herbert Diess told Reuters.

'Europe at risk'
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has raised the possibility of state support to bring chip and battery production back to Europe and her Social Democrat challenger Martin Schulz has also called for investment in cell production in Germany.

The stakes are high, with the auto industry providing around 12.6 million jobs in the European Union, or about 5.7 percent of total employment.

Trade unions have been putting pressure on manufacturers to make EVs in existing factories and invest in battery production in Europe, rather than outsourcing the work to Asia.

"Self-contained value chains are a central pillar of our industrial model and play a big role in the success of the German economy," Joerg Hofmann, president of the IG Metall union, told steel and car industry members on Wednesday.

CLEPA's Vavassori said Europe was lagging behind in the production of sensors and microchips, as well as batteries, and there was a risk in relying on Chinese supplies given geopolitical instability.

"We need production in Europe for vehicles of the future, or we put all Europe at risk," he said.

Many in the auto industry want governments to focus on setting targets to bring down carbon dioxide emissions, rather than being prescriptive about quotas for EVs.

"Mandating certain percentages of certain technologies doesn't take us to the best solution," said Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche, who currently chairs ACEA, the main European carmakers' association.

On Wednesday, ACEA offered to further cut CO2 emissions by 2030, albeit dependent on the future market success of EVs.

Germany's Robert Bosch, the world's biggest auto supplier, is keeping its options open, working to further refine and optimize the combustion engine and also exploring synthetic fuels, which could use existing filling stations and engines.

"This is a faster way of limiting global warming," Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner said. "We are doing this alongside electric vehicles."

Related Stories
  • China automakers risk huge inventories of unsold EVs
  •     --Published:2017/17/11
     
  • China may issue more EV permits to expand output
  •     --Published:2017/17/11
     
  • Contemporary Amperex preps IPO to fund EV battery plant, r&d center
  •     --Published:2017/17/11
     
  • BYD to assemble commercial electric trucks in Canada
  •     --Published:2017/17/11
     
  • GM will meet EV quotas by 2019, China chief says
  •     --Published:2017/14/11
     
  • China to ease foreign ownership limits on EV joint ventures
  •     --Published:2017/14/11
     
  • Saleen Auto plans high-performance vehicle output in China
  •     --Published:2017/14/11
     
  • Ford, Zotye seal deal to produce EVs in China
  •     --Published:2017/10/11
     
  • BMW launches EV battery output in Shenyang
  •     --Published:2017/31/10
     
  • EVs are last hope for China's struggling state-owned automakers
  •     --Published:2017/27/10
     
  • Tesla to rework vehicles to meet Chinese charging standards
  •     --Published:2017/20/10
     
  • China's riddle: How can EV sales soar while profits shrink?
  •     --Published:2017/20/10
     
  • BAIC chairman: China's EV output to hit 1 million next year
  •     --Published:2017/20/10
     
  • Chinese-funded EV startup buys tech firm headed by former Tesla exec
  •     --Published:2017/20/10
     
     

    Our Newsletter Editions
    Automotive News China produces two email newsletters each week. You can sort your news by the articles highlighted in each of our newsletters here.

    Select your newsletter     

     

    Automotive News China
    Room 1303, Building 2, Lane 99, South Hongcao Road,
    Shanghai 200233
    Telephone: 86-139-1851-5816
    Fax: 86-21-6495-0895
     
    Home | Help Center | About Us | RSS
    Entire contents © Crain Communications, Inc.
    Use of editorial content without permission is strictly prohibited. All Rights Reserved.
    ICP06057291