Germany to support three battery cell alliances: economy minister
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will award to three consortiums 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion) in funding it earmarked last year to support domestic battery cell production, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told Reuters, part of a bid to cut carmakers’ reliance on Asian supply.
Securing a regional supply chain for electric vehicles (EVs) would help Germany achieve European Union goals to lower carbon emissions and cut fossil fuel consumption.
It would also strengthen the ability of the continent’s automakers and battery makers to compete with Asian rivals CATL, LG Chem and Samsung.
“We’ve now reached a point where we can say that there is likely to be not only one battery cell consortium, but probably three,” Altmaier said in a Reuters interview.
The Economy Ministry will submit all necessary state aid documents to the European Commission once it has completed its selection process, Altmaier said.
He declined to comment on which companies have the best chances of getting the earmarked funds.
Carmakers Volkswagen and BMW, German battery maker Varta and Swedish battery manufacturing startup Northvolt are among the more than 30 companies that applied for state funding from the German Economy Ministry.
France and Germany have already asked the European Commission to approve joint state subsidies for a cross-border battery cell consortium including carmaker PSA, its German subsidiary Opel and French battery maker Saft.
The European Union allows state aid under certain conditions under its rules for Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI).
Europe’s Energy Commissioners Maros Sefcovic and Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager have signalled support for the battery cell initiative.