WESD 2023: EV battery manufacturing fast evolving in Europe; needs pro-active policy
The 2023 edition of the World Energy Storage Day global conference organized by India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) witnessed critical discussions on the e-mobility and related manufacturing scenario of the R3 (Europe, UK, Middle East, Africa) region. The session was moderated by Ashok Thakur, Director - Customized Energy Solutions Europe.
Commencing his presentation with the European Union's (EU) 'Fit-for55' package on decarbonization of mobility in Europe, Rene Schroeder, Director of Eurobat, said that the demand for battery vehicles in the coming years, along with the push given by EU Green Deal, is pushing the demand for batteries in the region.
"The EU regulatory framework for batteries is evolving fast. The batteries regulation will provide policy visibility for the next 10-15 years. Yet, the legislation is complex, which is attaching multiple obligations for to the battery manufacturers, and the policy will be under development for the next few years", he observed.
Rene further called for a pro-active policy regime to aid this emerging transition. "The industry needs to continue providing timely, detailed and understandable contributions to help policymakers shape a sound secondary legislation (in part on carbon footprint and battery passport)", he said.
"The opportunities for battery cell manufacturing we see today is very interesting, but also risky. If we don't act right, fuel the battery initiatives, bring investments, and curate with supporting policies, we may loose the opportunity", opined Lars Carlstrom, Founder and Executive Chairman, Italvolt.
Sharing his experiences in building one of Europe's largest cell production capacities to the tune of 37 GWh, Lars said that brownfield, fast and scalable go-to-market approach and technology licensing (of LFP chemistry for fast market entry) are the key tenets of Italvolt's strategy. In addition, close proximity to suppliers and customers and closed-loop production process (with on-site scrap and battery recycling) enhances sustainability of the operations, he added.
Italvolt has chosen West Sicily for its first of the five production lines planned until 2031. "The location offers access to solar energy from Tunisia, proximity to cathode raw materials for LFP as well as European OEMs and the emerging battery ecosystem in Europe" he said.
For market entry, Italvolt plans to produce advanced prismatic large format LFP cell suitable for ESS, BEVs, marine and off-highway applications, Lars declared. "This gives immediate volume and meets the demands of the market. However, we will concentrate on advanced chemistries and cell designs for the future to further market shares", he claimed.
In the panel discussion, Abilash ET Nair, Head - Smart Mobility & Smart Buildings, Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, spoke on the ethics of EV transition in Europe and Middle-East, while elucidating on the emerging EV and battery ecosystem in the latter region.
Fabio Sacchi, VP EV Logistics Business and Commercial Development, DHL, presented on the logistics challenges face by EV and ESS industry, by saying that both the industries face the same set of challenges. "EV and battery logistics is disruptive event of our times, and we need to adapt to it in quick and efficient manner", he added.
Commenting on the EV scenario in the African region, Warren Ondanje, Managing Director, Africa E-Mobility Alliance, called for a series of policy goals involving time bound incentives for industrialization, robust policy framework, and standards for safety and quality, to establish a conducive environment for EV adoption and manufacturing ecosystem in the continent.