Europe recently passed China as the world’s No. 1 market for electrified car sales, but it lags in building the most valuable component in those of vehicles: the battery.
Drawing on decades of experience in the consumer electronics market, Asia-based suppliers such as South Korea's LG Chem, Samsung and SK Innovation, China's Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL) and Japan's Panasonic, dominate both European and global cell production.
European automakers either import cells from these companies' vast Asian gigafactories, or buy them from their plants in Poland and Hungary.
But that is about to change.
Major European automakers are preparing to break ground on their own gigafactories, in collaboration with partners such as Northvolt of Sweden and Total of France, boosted by a surge in financial support from the European Union and national governments. In doing so, they will be competing with European expansions by the Asian producers (see chart, below, right).
Also looking to join the game are startups such as the UK's Britishvolt and France's Verkor, which are seeking for financing for their plan as well as commitments from automakers.