European countries are actively fostering the battery industry. The reason is that it is not possible to rely solely on Korea, China, and Japan for batteries, being a key parts of electric vehicles (EV). European battery industry is expected to become a new growth engine for the Asian battery equipment industry with abundant mass production planned.
According to the industry, major South Korean battery equipment makers are targeting European battery makers in earnest. There are about 10 such as PNT, CS, Cheil Engineering, TSI, M Plus, Hana Technology, SFA, P&E Solution, and Gapjin. They have established branch offices or liaison offices and are actively conducting sales activities by mobilizing local agents.
European battery makers’ response is also good. It is known that Northvolt, which will build factories in Sweden and Germany respectively, recently set an internal policy to increase the proportion of Korean partners. It is said that they were quite satisfied with the technology and quality of South Korean equipment companies. The mixing equipment that mixes the materials inside the battery is a niche that South Korean companies dominate. The same applies to coater equipment for electrode processing.
Saft is strategically encouraging South Korean companies to participate. Investment discussions have been delayed due to Corona virus, but bidding for the battery production line began in earnest from the second half of the year.
Norwegian new battery company Freir is also a target for South Korean equipment makers. The goal is to build a battery plant of 32 gigawatt hours (GWh)capacity per year by 2025. Last month, it first raised 130 million krone. The world’s largest nickel mine project is in progress in neighboring Finland, which is advantageous for procuring battery raw materials.
British Bolt is also a promising target. The goal is to build a 30GWh plant. Unlike other battery makers, it is focusing on business success by cooperating with AMTE Power and Dench Power, which made military batteries. The biggest advantage is that it has gained experience in battery design and production.
A South Korean industry insider said, “Europe has a weak point in that it has a lot of original battery technology, but has little experience in mass production.” Here South Korean equipment makers can come handy.