The European shot hit the United States and China at the same time!

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Author: Rong ping source: official account: Rong Ping (id:rongping898) has been authorized to reprint

The EU has received a report these two days, which has attracted great attention from the global industry. According to Reuters, the European Commission is currently evaluating a proposal by the European Chemicals Agency to help the EU achieve self-sufficiency in electric vehicle batteries. The content is to list lithium carbonate, lithium chloride and lithium hydroxide as materials harmful to human health. Although the proposal does not directly prohibit the import of lithium, the legislation on stricter rules for processing, packaging and storage will inevitably increase the cost of lithium processors.

Many people in Europe are puzzled by the fact that this coquettish operation is true. The core point of the proposal is to strengthen the self-sufficiency of local electric vehicle batteries, but the end result is to push up the production cost of lithium processors, the upstream raw material of batteries, with stricter rules. Isn’t this a typical contradiction?

Albemarle Yabao, the world’s largest lithium producer, said:

If the EU lists lithium as a dangerous material, our company will have to close its plant in Langelsheim, Germany, due to the soaring production costs.

Yabao was a member of the U.S. assistance project to Germany (during the Weimar Republic). It has been collecting lithium in Germany since 1921. It has more than 600 employees, accounting for 8% of its net sales!

Subsequently, Scott tozier, chief financial officer of Yabao, continued to warn that the proposal of the European Chemicals administration would hinder the localization of the EU battery supply chain. Once the European Commission passes the proposal, it may increase Europe’s dependence on Chinese production capacity, which is completely contrary to the European localization strategy!


Lithium mining

It is certain that the harmfulness of lithium to human body is completely controllable, because the battery production needs to be carried out in the environment of water and oxygen removal, and the aluminum-plastic film must be used for heat sealing to ensure its isolation from the external environment. This particularly precise production process makes the chemical substances in the lithium battery not easily flow out of the outside world, which will not cause any harm to human body. Smart phones have been using lithium batteries for many years. So far, there has been no news of chemical leakage hurting people.

In other words, the proposal of the European Chemicals administration has no substantial industrial basis, but it is simply based on the existence of harmful chemicals in lithium, which is called lazy politics in China.

But the key is why there is such a contradictory situation?

Some people say that they have been fooled and lame by European extreme environmental protection organizations and the United States. They want to abandon their martial arts.

Such statements have a certain degree of credibility. After all, the campaign to go to nuclear power plants in Europe has been going on for more than a decade, and a large number of countries are rushing on the road of completely abandoning nuclear power. But there is a bug: the complete denuclearization in Europe was not caused by extreme environmental groups and the United States, but by their collusion with Germany.

In Europe, France has the most developed nuclear power technology and industrial chain, while Germany is the most radical to abandon nuclear power. According to Merkel’s ten-year plan, Germany will shut down the last three nuclear power plants next year, so as to realize the complete denuclearization of the energy structure.


As we all know, Germany, as a defeated country in the Second World War, has many restrictions on the development of nuclear energy. France already has strong military strength. If its nuclear energy layout is fully spread in Europe, Germany is simply unable to seize the dominant power in EU affairs from France, which holds the dual advantages of military card and energy card.

In the context of decarbonization, if Europe does not engage in nuclear energy, natural gas is the best choice. In this way, Germany, as a transit point for Russian natural gas to Western Europe, can become the largest locomotive in Europe with the dual advantages of energy and economy. Therefore, the complete denuclearization of Europe, to a certain extent, is in line with the strategic interests of Germany to suppress France and strengthen its leadership in the EU!

However, the automobile industry involved in lithium batteries is different. The automobile industry of the current EU troika, such as Germany, France and Italy, is very strong. With the middle and upper reaches of Sweden, Spain and the small countries responsible for supporting, such as the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania, the output value of the automobile industry accounts for an absurdly high proportion of European GDP.

McKinsey’s 2019 annual report shows that:

The automobile industry contributes 7% of EU GDP and more than 8% of jobs. In addition, the automobile industry is also an important local financial source. According to statistics, among the 15 countries with the most developed industries in the EU alone, the tax generated by the automobile industry is as high as 410billion euros, accounting for 6% of the total tax revenue.

It can be said that the automobile industry is the financial resources of European governments and businesses. The so-called cutting off people’s financial resources is like killing parents. Who dares to use their brains in this field has nothing to eat. Don’t forget that European capitalists are also Western capitalists!


Picture source of the development of European automobile industry over the years: McKinsey’s vision for the European automobile industry in 2050

Since it is not fooled, there is only one possibility left: deliberately doing it! Europe should use policy means to solve its weakness in the industrial field, that is, the proposal on lithium by the European Chemicals administration aims to significantly raise the threshold for lithium battery vehicles to enter the European market and provide protection space for the European automotive industry to overtake in the near future.

Who is the best country for lithium battery cars?

China and America!

To put it bluntly, in the new energy automobile track with lithium batteries as the core power, China and the United States are far ahead, and Europe is basically hopeless to catch up. Instead of sitting idly by and watching the traditional advantageous market being snatched, it is better to change the rules and directly turn over the table so that everyone can have no fun.


The data shows everything. According to the customs statistics compiled by China Automobile Industry Association, in 2021, China exported 426000 new energy vehicles, a year-on-year increase of 291.4%; The export value is US $11.001 billion. It is worth emphasizing that Europe, which has absolute dominance in traditional fuel vehicles, is the second largest export market of China’s new energy vehicles. In contrast, Germany, the largest automobile country in Europe, exports about 230000 new energy vehicles, only more than half of China’s.


Why did Europe, which has had a century of automobile hegemony, fall to this point?

This is because two disruptive changes have taken place in new energy vehicles for fuel vehicles.

The first is the change in architecture

European industry is famous for its precision machinery manufacturing, and the structure of traditional fuel vehicles is precisely based on machinery. Therefore, the European automotive industry can beat the United States, Japan and South Korea and China, which has come from behind, for many years.

We might as well take a look at the specific situation by subdividing the fields. The three major components of traditional fuel vehicles are the engine, chassis and gearbox. Their overall technical level directly determines the technical level of the vehicle, while the European series has been superior in almost every aspect.


According to the 2021 annual list released by the well-known American automobile magazine wardsauto, the top ten European brands in the world’s top ten engine awards, six European brands in the world’s top ten chassis technology rankings, and the top ten global transmission rankings, the first European enterprise, is called ZF.

In addition to these three core components, Europe’s strength in the whole automobile supply chain is also extremely strong.

In the ranking of the world’s top ten auto parts manufacturers based on sales revenue, i.e. market scale, there are five European enterprises on the list, namely Bosch, ZF, Continental, Faurecia and Valeo.


Top ten auto parts manufacturers in the world

The new energy vehicles are mainly based on electronic control architecture, and the three major components have also become battery motor electronic control. The advantages of Europe have disappeared.


The top ten battery manufacturers in the world are all in East Asia, with four from China, three from Japan and South Korea, and none from Europe; The electric control of motors is slightly better. Siemens Bosch and ZF were shortlisted, but they do not have the absolute dominance like traditional fuel vehicles. Last year, BYD was the world’s largest supplier of electric motors and electric controls according to the installed capacity.


Top ten power battery manufacturers in the world in 2021

Other parts or raw materials are even more important. Major diaphragm manufacturers, electrolyte manufacturers, anode and cathode material manufacturers in the world, and European enterprises have a particularly weak sense of presence.

The second is intelligence

In addition to the core power, the biggest difference between new energy vehicles and fuel vehicles is that they are more intelligent. There are all kinds of self driving assistant driving voice control seats, automatic heating and automatic parking functions, which really bring a lot of convenience to drivers.

The intelligence of automobile mainly depends on two aspects of technical support, one is electronic sensor, the other is system ecology and software. These two fundamental changes have revolutionized the value chain of the automobile manufacturing industry. In the past, machinery accounted for 70% of the cost of automobiles. Now, the cost of electronic equipment and system software accounts for more than 40% of the total cost of automobiles.

Electronic sensors need to be solved by various on-board semiconductors. The number of semiconductors in an ordinary fuel vehicle is about 1000, and that in new energy vehicles is between 2000 and 3000. The technical difficulty has increased significantly. Although there are world-class on-board semiconductor manufacturers in Europe, they can be limited by the imperfect semiconductor industry chain and Internet technology, and the system integration ability is weaker than that in China and the United States.

Some manufacturers are still headstrong and complacent. Even today, some Volkswagen cars still use the mechanical dashboard, which is called pragmatism and does not engage in those fancy things. But now the new force of car buying is the post-80s and post-90s. They like to use a clear electronic display screen. Doesn’t this virtually discourage a wave of users?


The sales volume of automotive semiconductors has tripled in the past two decades, which means that the value cost of automotive electronics is increasing

The system ecology needs to be solved by Internet enterprises. A high-end new energy vehicle has up to 100million lines of code, which is 15 times that of Boeing 787 avionics. In addition, all sub links need to cooperate through program instructions, which is far beyond the capacity of traditional automobile enterprises and must be supported by Internet enterprises.

There are only two countries with world-class Internet industry and technology, China

In China and the United States, the system ecology of Chinese automobile manufacturers is supported by Huawei, Xiaomi and Alibaba, and that of American automobile manufacturers is supported by Google, Oracle and apple.

What about Europe? There is no top Internet enterprise, so the level of intelligence cannot be improved naturally.

There is no denying that the great transformation of new energy vehicles from architecture to electronization has led to the complete annihilation of the hegemony of complete vehicles and parts in Europe. However, the automotive industry in China and the United States is developing in full swing, which has made the leaders in the European industry very anxious.

It is a traditional skill in Europe and the United States to solve the problems that cannot be solved at the industrial side with the policy side. The proposal of the European Chemicals administration is only the first step. If the European Commission formally approves it, the next scenario should be that Europe and Japan work together to turn the track of new energy vehicles to hydrogen fuel. This can be seen from a series of policies of the European Union and Germany in recent years.

In 2020, France pointed out in its national strategy report on carbon free hydrogen energy that it would invest 7billion euros to develop green hydrogen energy in the next decade. By 2030, it would build a new 6.5 GW electrolytic hydrogen production unit, which would be mainly used in the transportation field and create 150000 jobs.

In July of the same year, the European Commission launched the EU hydrogen energy strategy, striving to plan 1533 hydrogen refueling stations by 2030 with an annual capacity of 190000 tons.


On May 28, 2021, the German Ministry of economy and the Ministry of transport jointly announced that they would spend 8billion euros to launch 62 large-scale hydrogen energy projects, covering the entire value chain from hydrogen production and transportation to industrial application. It is said that the 8billion euros invested by the German government will leverage the social investment of 25billion euros. In other words, the final investment scale of German hydrogen energy will reach 33billion euros.

Peter altmaier, then German Minister of economy, once said:

We are making Germany a hydrogen power country. In the process, we are rethinking mobility in Europe and in general – from energy systems and driving technologies to fuel infrastructure. At present, more than 95% of transportation still depends on the use of fossil fuels. Therefore, we urgently need to rely on the mobility of renewable energy. Green hydrogen and fuel cells are important supplements to pure cell vehicles in all modes of transportation.

Focus: we are reconsidering mobility in Europe and in general! From the perspective of hydrogen fuel cells, the proposal of the European Chemicals administration is indeed in line with the goal of helping the EU achieve self-sufficiency in electric vehicle batteries, but it is only a disgraceful means.

According to the prediction of the European Hydrogen Energy Strategy of the Climate Center, in 2030, the global new electrolytic hydrogen production capacity will reach 8.2 GW, of which 57% will be built in Europe. It is obvious that all over Europe, from France and Germany, a powerful automobile country, to the European Commission, are promoting the construction of hydrogen energy in a rather radical way. Behind this, the European Union is powerless to deal with the Sino US automobile industry and can only hope to break the track forcibly.

Overtaking by changing lanes is common in the industry. The general trend of automobile electrification is the result of the joint efforts of China, the United States and Japan to challenge the hegemony of European traditional fuel vehicles.

However, in the process of development, Japan chose the hydrogen fuel cell technology which is more difficult in technology and similar to the filling method of fuel vehicles, while China and the United States bet on the lithium battery technology with relatively more mature technology. In the end, naturally, China, which has the advantages of market and industrial chain, and the United States, which has the advantages of rules, jointly put Japan forward.

The European Union has been following China and the United States for more than ten years. Now it has finally found something wrong. It must be trying to dig holes for the two brothers.

However, we have already taken action. The Ministry of industry and information technology clearly pointed out in the technical roadmap of China’s energy saving and new energy vehicles that by 2020, 1000 fuel cell vehicles will be produced and put into demonstration operation; By 2025, hydrogen production, hydrogenation and other supporting infrastructure will be basically improved, and fuel cell vehicles will realize small-scale operation in the region; By 2030, the sales scale of fuel vehicles will reach the level of millions.


No matter the lithium battery route or the hydrogen fuel cell route, we will not let go of any core technology that can be involved in the future automobile industry.

Children only make choices. Of course, adults want them all!


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