Europe Needs Over 30 Battery Gigafactories By 2025

Photo-illustration: Unsplash (CHUTTERSNAP)

For ease of thinking, I use 1 BGF (battery gigafactory) as unit of production capacity. This refers to the original planned size of the first Tesla battery gigafactory in Nevada. Plans change and factory sizes change and our realization of what is needed changes.

But that first shockingly gigantic factory that could produce more than the total world battery production capacity from the year before, 35 GWh, will stay burned in the minds of all who followed the news on Tesla and EV production in those days.

When I wrote my article about the Osborne effect, I came to 2025 as the most likely date by simple extrapolation of trends. I did not try to include the effect of government measures, carmakers refusing to bring models to market, or the world becoming paralyzed by a pandemic.

Today, I’d like to write about a condition for the transition that will likely not be met — the battery production capacity needed for the transition in Europe.

For most of that capacity, the factories will only exist as blueprints, or they will be struggling through permitting procedures like the Berlin Tesla Gigafactory is now. Most plans will not be shovel ready even as they should be hitting full production.

The way I calculated the amount needed is by believing that I am right and BloombergNEF is partly right. I think that, when we see price parity on the showroom floor, the last obstacle to buying fully electric is removed. The analysts at BNEF see price parity in 2025/2026 and a 100 percent BEV market in 2035. Okay, that first part I consider right, while the second part is their vision.

I think many people will try to switch to BEV before price parity is reached because BEVs are better, safer, and have lower total cost of ownership (TCO). After price parity is reached, the market for vehicles with a tailpipe will dwindle to almost nothing. It will happen faster than in the legacy car managers’ worst nightmares.

The European auto market is about 17 million vehicles big. It consists of 15 million passenger autos, 2 million light commercial vehicles, and 300,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks. That gives me the following calculation for the batteries we need.

1) 15 million for PV with an average 70 KWh battery = 1,050 GWh

2) 2 million LCV with an average 100 KWh battery = 200 GWh

3) 300,000 MHCV with an average battery of 250 KWh = 75 GWh

Together, that is 1,325 GWh, a tad more than the 30 BGF I noted above, but there will not be factories to make that many BEVs. Battery sizes will be influenced by price per KWh, speed of charging, density of charging infrastructure, usage patterns, experience, and expectations. These numbers are based on my personal experience and market observations.

Author: Maarten Vinkhuyzen

Source: Clean Technica