November 2021
The EU wants at least 30m electric vehicles on the region's roads by 2030—a massive increase from the 3.3m in 2020. The transition to EVs and away from internal combustion engine cars, which the bloc wants to phase out by 2035, will require a vast number of batteries, even if the most ambitious targets are not reached.
Global demand for batteries is set to increase 14-fold by 2030, according to EU's own estimates, with the region expected to account for 17% of that demand at 443GWh. The bloc's demand will surpass 200GWh per year by 2023, the European Commission estimates. Rapid demand growth means the potential value of a European battery value chain—mining, refining, cell manufacturing, battery packs and recycling—could be €250bn (US$283bn) in 2025, according to EU-backed investment vehicle EIT InnoEnergy. While Europe has been slower than Asia to build battery centres and is almost entirely reliant on imported battery cells, the region is undergoing a fundamental shift to put its economic interests first. Indeed, Northvolt's Swedish battery factory, set to open later this year, marks the first big European-owned production line for battery cells. It is aiming to produce 60GWh of batteries per year by 2024, outpacing Tesla's gigafactory in Nevada.