Battery research is at the heart of one of the most important transitions our world will have to face in the future. Transport and energy have always been strongly linked, but the emergence of electrification in road transport means that electrochemical storage technologies will play a stronger role in our cars. With the emergence of plug in hybrids and extended range electric vehicles batteries might not necessarily completely replace conventional fuels, but will still play a paramount role in this shift, and therefore Europe needs to recover a major role in this industrial domain.
European researchers have played an important role in the early development of lithium-based batteries, which are currently dominating the world market and will enable the current generation of electrified vehicles to provide more appealing range and performance to customers than their predecessors. These vehicles, however, in most cases are powered by batteries designed and built outside Europe. While at current sales levels this is not yet a major issue, European researchers and industries should use the time it will take to ramp up sales of electrified vehicles to bridge this gap, aiming to recover production to Europe by developing a new generation of high performance cells that rival performance with Asian and American products.
This is where research funding plays an essential role, and why the European Green Cars Initiative (EGCI) dedicated 25 projects, for a total of more than 85 M € to electrochemistry and battery management, as well as their integration.