Total, the largest French oil and gas company, says that it will only invest considerable amounts of money in a large-scale European battery production, if there is a level playing field. According to Total’s ceo, Chinese producers still have an unfair advantage in the market.
Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne says that it will only invest heavily if it is possible to compete on a level playing field with Chinese and Asian manufacturers, reports Reuters. Pouyanne stated in May that the battery component of Total, Saft, was planning to invest more than 200 million euros in a new European battery production alliance consisting of Siemens, Solvay and Manz.
The idea was to start producing a new generation of lithium-ion batteries and eventually to produce solid-state batteries so that we could compete with Asian and American competitors. However, Pouyanne now says that Saft will not participate in the absence of a fair playing field.
He states, for example, that some Chinese producers receive state aid. He also says that if a company in China wants to release a vehicle with a battery, the rules stipulate that the battery must also be built in China by a Chinese company.
Pouyanne says Total is talking to European governments to see if protection is possible. He says he wants to avoid a scenario such as the market for solar panels, in which European companies invested heavily, in order to eventually be outcompeted by Chinese producers.
Recently, the French government called on European battery manufacturers and car manufacturers to join forces to meet the growing demand for electric cars and to compete with Asia. The German government previously announced that it would raise a billion euros in a European consortium consisting of Varta Microbattery, BASF and Ford-Werke.