Volkswagen’s CEO warned this week that manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles in the European Union will be “practically unviable” if leaders fail to rein in ballooning energy costs.
“Unless we manage to reduce energy prices in Germany and Europe quickly and reliably,” Thomas Schäfer wrote in a Monday LinkedIn post, “investments in energy-intensive production or new battery cell factories in Germany and the EU will be practically unviable.”
“The value creation in this area will take place elsewhere,” he said.
Schäfer said an outline for industrial-policy cooperation between France and Germany last week, “falls short in crucial areas and does not address the envisaged priorities.”
He lamented that Germany and the European Union are “rapidly losing their attractiveness and competitiveness” while other countries such as the USA, Canada and China, among others, “are forging ahead.”
“I am very concerned about the current development regarding investments in the industry’s transformation,” he said. “This needs to be urgently prioritized – unbureaucratically, consistently, and quickly.”
He further criticized “outdated and bureaucratic state-aid rules” while the USA, with the Inflation Reduction Act, offers companies “highly attractive incentives to invest in new plants and production.”
“The point is: We have no time to lose,” Schäfer wrote. “The EU urgently needs new investments to avert insidious de-industrialization and to maintain Europe’s attractiveness as a location for future technologies and jobs!”