Alfons Westgeest, the secretary general of EUROBAT, the association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers, has called for greater investment in battery technology in the transport industry.
The comments come ahead of the eagerly awaited budget for Horizon 2020, the EU’s next research and innovation framework programme.
Westgeest said: “We should have a greater part of European R&D dedicated to battery technology for the benefit of e-mobility and renewable energy. The need for R&D exists because there is still a need to increase battery characteristics, both in terms of lifecycle, material technology, nanotechnology, and even explore opportunities for better recycling technologies.”
“Yet in the wider context of this conversation, continuing disagreement over the future of the EU’s long term, Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-2020 exists between and amongst member states and the European Commission, with clear implications for European research funding. While EUROBAT has been involved with a variety of projects drawing on innovative battery developments such as Green eMotion, it is clear that a more focused approach to the commercialisation of research could be more beneficial.”
Drawing on an innovation that has changed the European car industry, Westgeest advised: “Start-stop was in fact introduced thanks to European research and initiative; we hope to see the same success with advanced hybrid and electric vehicles.
“The US is pouring in money in this area, and what we would like to see is indeed significant money on the table for 2014-2020, not split over hundreds of projects but more co-ordinated over the member states. This would take a more sizeable but also more co-ordinated form inside Europe.”