By Mathieu Rosemain
AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France (Reuters) – A “Chinese language storm” is looming over Europe’s rising electrical automobile (EV) sector, Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard informed Reuters on Saturday, as Asia’s superpower dominates key uncooked supplies to make batteries for zero emission automobiles.
China’s latest choice to limit exports of two metals – gallium and germanium – utilized in semiconductors and EVs ought to elevate purple flags for European leaders because it exhibits the continent’s over-reliance on China and the necessity to construct a pricey provide chain, Senard mentioned in an interview.
“Once I speak about a Chinese language storm, I am speaking concerning the robust strain at present associated to Chinese language (electrical) automobile imports into Europe,” Senard mentioned.
“We’re able to making electrical autos, however we’re preventing to make sure the protection of our provides,” he mentioned, including China’s EV business and provide chain for uncooked supplies resulted from years of investments that will value billions of euros to duplicate.
China’s export restrictions are escalating a know-how conflict with america, doubtlessly inflicting extra disruption to world provide chains. Europe finds itself in the course of the spat, compelling it to search for alternate options within the worst-case-scenario.
“If there’s an actual geopolitical disaster, the injury to battery factories solely powered by merchandise coming from outdoors can be appreciable,” Senard warned. “That is the difficulty”.
The event of other fuels – akin to artificial e-fuels and hydrogen – can be essential within the occasion of a sudden scarcity of batteries resulting from a dearth of uncooked supplies, Senard mentioned.
“As any cautious producer would do… we’re searching for alternate options to keep away from paralyzing the nation if, for instance, we run out of batteries”.
(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Extra reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Modifying by Mark Potter)