If the electric car is one of the keys to the energy transition, the battery is the weakest link. Indeed, batteries for electric vehicles are manufactured almost exclusively in Asia (Japan, Korea, China), which poses a real problem of industrial and energy independence. Faced with this situation, the European Commission has just authorized seven Member States (France, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Poland, Sweden) to jointly invest 3.2 billion euros to develop “European” electric batteries, without that this does not represent a distortion of competition.
In addition to these 3.2 billion public money, five billion additional private money should be invested by 17 European companies. Europeans are planning to develop batteries that will recharge faster and with longer life, promising more efficient and less expensive electric cars in the years to come.
However, will these European batteries really compete against Asian or even American products? California's Tesla, for example, has just announced the upcoming opening of a plant in Germany.
Remains a question: is the electric car really the right solution against global warming? Even if its carbon footprint – manufacturing included – remains lower than that of the thermal vehicle, according to experts, it is not a panacea either.
The electric car does not emit CO2 while driving, but if we use dirty electricity, such as coal in Germany, to recharge it, we just move the pollution. In addition, the increase in the number of electric vehicles in the world will inevitably lead to higher electricity production in the coming years (including “non-clean” energy). Not to mention that the manufacture of the batteries themselves is polluting and that they must be recycled.
First, a recycling sector is being set up, particularly at European level. Then, the life of the batteries eventually turns out to be better than originally planned. For example, the Nissan manufacturer has just announced that its batteries could finally last 22 years instead of the estimated seven to eight years initially. In addition, car batteries can find a second life in the home or industry.
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