Germany running out of juice for batteries

With rising electromobility comes a growing need for the right batteries. Yet German companies still rely on external suppliers and their supply chains, reports the Öko-Institut.

In a new study, the Öko-Institut (Institute for Applied Ecology) estimates that by 2050 80% of all newly registered cars worldwide could be equipped with alternative drive systems. According to their calculations, this will necessitate annual capacities of up to 6,600 gigawatt hours. Manufacturing these battery quantities would require 220 giga-factories. Demand for lithium, cobalt, and nickel is expected to rise significantly by as early as 2030. The experts do not anticipate, however, a general shortage of the raw materials.

Projizierter jährlicher GWh-Bedarf der globalen Elektromobilität

The problem is less to do with the battery systems, which are manufactured in Europe, including by German companies, says the Öko-Institut, but rather the fact that the battery cells predominately have to be bought in from Asian manufacturers. If Germany is to become a leading market for electromobility, the value added also needs to be predominately based there. To assure raw material supplies, the recycling infrastructure for lithium-ion batteries also needs to be ‘ambitiously’ upgraded. This would enable around 10% of the worldwide demand to be met through battery recycling by 2030, and around 40% by 2050.

The German Federal Government is now also promoting the issue. German weekly newspaper ‘Die Zeit’ reports that Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier is planning to support the building of a battery cell factory in Germany with €1 billion. He believes the factory could be ready to begin production in 2021.

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