German-French battery declaration paves way for concrete planning in 2019
The declaration on battery cell production signed this week by German economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire includes a concrete time frame for how the cooperation with the European Commission could be arranged, Klaus Stratmann writes in Handelsblatt. Car makers are expected to form consortia by the end of the first quarter of 2019 and present investment plans in the first half of next year which would then serve as the basis to secure subsidies. One consortium would likely be made up of VW, battery producer Varta, BASF and car company Ford. Another group could include BMW, Belgian Umicore and battery cell startup Northvolt, Stratmann says. Several German regions have voiced interest in becoming battery cell producers, among them soon-to-be former coal mining areas Saxony, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt and North Rhine-Westphalia. However, Baden-Württemberg’s economy minister has argued that battery cells should be produced near potential customers such as Daimler, Porsche and Audi, which are all located in southern Germany.