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Renault Chairman warns of 'Chinese storm' in EVs

Reducing Europe’s dependence on China for raw materials will require billions of euros in investment to build new supply chains, Senard says. Source: Renault

Europe's electric vehicle sector faces a "Chinese storm", Jean-Dominique Senard, Chairman of French automaker Renault, said in an interview, referring to the Middle Kingdom's dominance of raw materials supply.

"When I talk about a Chinese storm, I'm talking about the strong pressure today related to Chinese (electric) vehicle imports into Europe," Senard told Reuters. European carmakers were capable of making EVs, Senard said, but added "We are fighting to ensure the safety of our [raw material] supplies."

China dominates key raw materials to make EV batteries and Senard warned that the country's decision to restrict exports of gallium and germanium – used in semiconductors and EVs – should raise red flags in Europe. The only way to reduce the continent's reliance on China for supplies is to spend billions of euros building new supply chains, Senard said.

Europeans aren't the only ones worried about Chinese dominance. Last month, Ford Chairman Bill Ford told Fareed Zakaria that Chinese EV makers "developed very quickly" and that "They're not here but they'll come here we think, at some point, we need to be ready."

His CEO was more direct. Talking at the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Finance Summit in May this year, Jim Farley said the Chinese would be the next "powerhouse" and said, "I think we see the Chinese as the main competitor, not General Motors or Toyota." 

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