How the United States prevents European electric cars from polluting less

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According to the NGO Transport & Environment, around two thirds of European battery production projects could be postponed or even canceled by 2030. Doubtless, the American competition, while the United States offers interesting aid for manufacturers and equipment manufacturers. We explain why this is a real problem.

Today theMost of the batteries that equip our electric cars are made in China. Indeed, and as recalled challengesThe world’s top five battery manufacturers in Asia currently represent three quarters of the world supply. It is true that there are still some factories in Europe, particularly in Poland and Hungary, but they are still a minority. And unfortunately it should not improve.

an alarming prognosis

In fact, the organization Transport and Environment he even decided to sound the alarm. In a new study, the NGO, which recently pointed the finger at rechargeable hybrid cars, explains that European battery production would be in grave danger. Indeed, 68% of battery production projects in Europe could be postponed, reduced or simply eliminated by 2030 « if no further actions are decided« .

The organization mentions in particular the factories of Tesla in Berlin, Northvolt in Germany and Italvolt near Turin, Italy. These would thus be part of the ones that would lose the most production volumes In the next years. In fact, if Elon Musk’s firm is ready to produce its new batteries in its German Gigafactory alongside the Model Y, it has now revised its plans.

The Tesla Model Y manufactured at the Gigafactory in Austin, Texas // Source: Tesla

She recently announced wants to focus on the United States to produce its accumulators, and in particular its latest generation 4680 cells. If the Berlin factory will not be abandoned and battery production will be maintained, as he explained the new factory, so it should not increase its power. But then what is the reason?

According to Transport and Environment, it’s the united states’ fault, and in particular its fiscal policy in favor of electric cars. In fact, President Joe Biden has announced the american subsidy plan Inflation Reduction Law« (IRA), which allows financing numerous investments related to new energies. Thus, industry players who comply with the standards will be able to benefit from numerous economic advantages.

Europe must act

Among them, a tax credit of $7,500 for customers of electric car manufacturers, such as Tesla. But for this, several conditions apply. First of all, the vehicles must imperatively be manufactured on US soil. But this is now also the case for batteries, with support around $45 per kWh. Knowing that a battery costs around $150 per kWh to produce. That is why all manufacturers prefer to produce there, while Europe does not offer these types of advantages.

Not to mention the fact that Gasoline is also cheaper which again plays in favor of the United States. It is true that some factories are being built in Europe, such as the one of the Chinese giant CATL, but this might not be enough to prevent capital flight. especially in the European investments fell 41% in 2021 and they were only 2% last year.

Audi factory
Audi factory

For Transport and Environment, therefore, it is essential that Europe takes action, while it is also threatened by the invasion of Chinese manufacturers recently. According to the NGO, must offer attractive financial support to increase battery production on the continent. she must too speed up approval procedures to retain projects threatened by US subsidies« .

Otherwise, European electric cars will continue to use batteries produced in China. Or, to a lesser extent, accumulators produced in the United States (with a less low-carbon energy mix than in Europe), which imply a long transport by ship.

The French government, for its part, is considering giving green bonuses only to electric cars produced in Europe, which would exclude the Dacia Spring and other Tesla Model 3s. But nothing has been said about battery production. However, several factory projects carried out by different companies such as Verkor or ACC (Automotive Cells Co.) are also planned for 2030.

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