In charge: Can Europe become a battery power in the electric age?

As the world electrifies its power and transport systems, Europe is racing to secure its place in the growing battery market


Can Europe’s battery makers respond to demand?


Bringing the supply chain home


The battery evolution


Risks loom on the horizon

Executive Summary

The future is electric. For Europe to meet its climate goals, the fossil-fuel age must give way to the electric age. And that means it needs a domestic battery supply.


Expected increase in global battery demand by 20301

Europe’s battery industry is still in its infancy

The global market for lithium-ion batteries is dominated by the Asian first-movers: China, Japan and South Korea.


Europe’s share of world battery cell production2

So Europe is still heavily reliant on battery cell imports. As demand grows, it must:

Achieving these by the end of this decade is now a strategic goal.

But is Europe’s battery industry ready to grow?

Just how prepared is the continent’s battery industry to meet this challenge? What does it need to do to reach that goal, and what threatens its ambitions? Protolabs decided to find out.

We surveyed 200 industry executives in 7 European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Netherlands and Norway*.

* Please note, Norway and the Netherlands are included in the average but are not shown as individual country charts due to their smaller sample size.

What we found out

Europe’s competitive strengths will lie in innovation...

The majority of respondents are either currently doing or planning to do the following in the next 12 months:


Launch a new battery product or storage system


Develop/expand additive manufacturing capabilities


Move parts of the supply chain closer to their manufacturing base


Enter into partnerships with a technology specialist provider or end-customer

And sustainability


say that sustainability principles will give European battery makers an edge in the international market

Some clear messages came out of the research:

Sustainability will be Europe’s differentiator Europe understands that it is a challenge to compete against China on price, so it has committed to making its batteries sustainable. This means the entire value chain – raw materials, supply chain, manufacturing, recycling – will need to comply with strict ESG criteria.

But there is work to do A majority of respondents say they find it challenging to use renewable energy, which is a crucial way to cut the supply chain’s carbon footprint.

Re-shoring and near-shoring are essential to resilience Avoiding supply chain shortages and ensuring speed to market are critical for competing in a global market.

Battery makers have to continue innovating They need to innovate in weight, density and cost to remain competitive – not only with other fuels, but also with new types of batteries.

Increased government investment and supportive fiscal policy are essential These will be key to overcoming industry uncertainty about returns on investment and policy direction – which currently pose the greatest risks to Europe's battery industry.

Read more about the research here. Acknowledgements


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