France ready to invest in ‘Airbus of batteries’
The French state has announced it will invest 700 billion euro the next five years in the development of a next generation battery industry in Europe, the so-called ‘the Airbus of batteries’.
In December, France and Germany have signed a strategic agreement in cooperation with the European Commission to realize this project. Recently, Germany already announced to invest a billion euro in it between now and 2022.
This French engagement was confirmed by President Macron in a speech at the gala evening for the international organization of car manufacturers (OICA), celebrating its 100th anniversary.
He also stressed the importance of the car industry for his country and talked about the engagement of the French state to create a friendly environment for the electric and autonomous car of the future.
One million EVs in 2022
Macron has asked car experts, Xavier Mosquet and Patrick Pelata, former director at Renault, to write a report on the future of the French automotive industry. This report will be presented on Thursday.
The French government has set a target of 1 million electric vehicles on the French roads in 2022.
“This is a realistic target”, says Mosquet, “but then the offer of electric cars has to be far more extended. There have to be more cheaper electric cars and a second-hand market for EVs has to be developed.”
It will also need huge investments from the society. “Buying an EV has to financially encouraged”, continues Mosquet. “There have to be advantages in daily use.”
Another important point is charging infrastructure. “We have to invest heavily in the charging capacity at home and at work”, says Mosquet. “At the same time we must realize the plan to have 100.000 public charging stations in 2022.” Right now there are 25.000 in France.
Autonomous car retarded
President Macron is also insisting on the need for a legal framework on autonomous cars. At the moment the lead in this battle is taken by the digital giants (GAFA) and this has to change, according to Macron.
“As a European entrepreneur, today it is easier to go and develop solutions for autonomous cars in the States than to stay in Europe”, regrets Mosquet.
On the other hand, he adds, “it is also very difficult for foreign companies to find the right talent when they want to invest in France. The government has to create a unique access platform where those companies can recruit and form new teams specialized in these matters.”