While all eyes have been on the UK electric vehicle market in the short to medium term, it seems that European interest could be centred upon France in the future. A leading report into the EV market, and in particular the EV battery market, seems to suggest that France could become one of the major worldwide players by 2020.
At this moment in time the EV battery market is worth around $380 million a year to the French economy, although this is set to rise to $7.2 billion by 2020. When you bear in mind that this is a compound annual growth rate nearing 45% this would be a phenomenal performance!
Why is France favoured in the EV battery market?
It is only recently that the main focus has switched from the EV market itself to the EV battery market, amid signs that new battery technology is about to come online. It seems as though the French exposure to EV batteries will predominantly be through the Renault/Nissan partnership with the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission. There has been talk for some time that EV batteries are set to move to the next level and when you bear in mind that this particular arrangement is already in the process of building a factory with capacity for up to 350,000 EV batteries per year, this market is certainly moving very quickly.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "While Renault was not perhaps the first company to grab the headlines in the electric vehicle market, there is no doubt that the company is perhaps more committed than any of the other major car manufacturers across Europe, North America and Asia. This is a company which seems to have bet the house on hybrid and electric vehicles and in all honesty, if current news flow is anything to go by, this seems to have been a good bet."
It is also the fact that the French government has made a commitment to have 2 million electric vehicles on the roads by the end of the current decade, something which has been backed up by an increase in financial incentives for those looking to acquire this new mode of transport. When you also bear in mind that the French share of the worldwide EV battery market is currently 3.7% and expected to rise to 16.2% in 2020, perhaps this investment by the French government could be very lucrative?
The worldwide electric vehicle battery market
While there is no doubt that the UK and other European countries will have something to say about potential French dominance of the European EV battery market, Japan and China will continue to lead the way. It is expected that Japan could have turnover of $10.3 billion from its electric vehicle battery sector by 2020, with China a close second with $8.5 billion. If nothing else, this perfectly reflects the potential size of the worldwide EV battery market and perhaps put into perspective why there is such a battle going on.
In what many believe is the "perfect storm", concerns about EV travel have reduced of late, EV battery technology is improving and the upfront cost of EVs is expected to fall below that of conventional vehicles by 2017. Some might suggest that things are going "too well" at the moment and the track record of the industry is not very good when pushing its advantage home. However, the fact is that the industry is on the up, governments have invested enormous amounts of money, and motorists finally seem to be waking up to the potential of this new mode of transport.