From Tuesday 7 to Thursday 9 November at the Darmstadtium Science and Congress Centrum in Darmstadt, batteries were the real engine of innovation. The indications from the 18th Battery Experts Forum are clear: critical mass and interaction are needed to give the electric turnaround a European matrix. To achieve this, the competitive gap must be reduced, with the support of policy makers. Aka, incentives to enhance every single step of the supply chain. An invitation to follow the virtuous example of China and the USA, where the Inflation Reduction Act will help make investments on American soil attractive.
The opening press conference of the Battery Experts Forum
At the opening press conference, Du Quoqing, DMEGC’s chief battery scientist, played the role of insider, representing the Chinese hegemony. DMEGC has so far produced 700 million battery cells, a figure that is set to double in the next two years.
Dave Fawcett, CEO of Amada Weld Tech, brought a valuable element into the discussion: the challenge is not just about betting on the winning horse and mixing technologies. The first step is to find the most suitable materials for each specific type of battery.
Sven Bauer, founder of BMZ, emphasized the need for systemization and explained how to proceed in order to reduce costs. Wolfgang Bernhart of Roland Berger also pointed out material cost fluctuations impacting the price range. He, too, emphasized the importance of subsidies is also linked to timing, thus to incentives in stimulating the supply chain, without further rewarding fossil sources.
To give a big picture, 50% of the Inflaction act concerns materials, 50% production processes. We highlight two key points. The lithium price trend is declining, and, at the same time, the power density of batteries is improving. The second point concerns semiconductors. It is crucial to produce them in Europe. In short, we need a Plan B.
Sustainable Truck&Van is media partner of the German event. We’ll come back to the 2023 edition with in-depth analysis and interviews.