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Tesla Model Y was France’s best-selling BEV in 2023.

EV Innovation in Spotlight Among Automotive Start-Ups

As the EV market heats up, more startup companies are creating innovations around making the EV industry more efficient.

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Assn. (ACEA) reports that over 92,000 electric cars were sold in January in Europe, which is a year-over-year increase of 28.9%. The four largest markets for EV sales were Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Germany.

The recent EV boom in the European Union can be attributed to their plan that by 2035 all new vehicles sold in the EU should be zero-emission cars. This is all part of the EU’s strategy of alleviating climate change by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

The direction of travel is clear: in 2035, new cars and vans must have zero emissions,” states Frans Timmermans, European Commission executive vice president. He adds that “the new rules on CO2 emissions from cars and vans are a key part of the European Green Deal and will be a big contribution to our target of being climate-neutral by 2050.”

As the EV market heats up, more startup companies are creating innovations around making the EV industry more efficient. In fact, an entire startup ecosystem is developing around the EV. Examples of companies springing up in the EV market include startups that are focusing on improving EV batteries; for example, recovering metals from plants to produce nickel without using mining facilities. Nickel is used in manufacturing batteries.

Additionally, companies are creating eco-efficient processes for the recycling of lithium-ion batteries. Some startups are also looking for ways to test the efficiency of batteries and provide a solution to detect bad batteries in the factory before they are manufactured in the actual vehicle, while others are creating better charging stations for home use. The focus on EV batteries has taken center stage, especially when companies consider the consumers buying secondhand vehicles; the battery needs to work efficiently and have a longer lifespan.

The EU is also creating alliances with Japan partially surrounding EV batteries, planning to collaborate on developing sodium-ion batteries, which are a developing power source for EVs with great potential.  These batteries cost less than regular batteries and are not dependent on materials from China.

There also are companies in the EU, and specifically in France, that are developing sodium-ion batteries. Examples of such companies are Tiamat Energy, which designs, develops and manufactures sodium-ion batteries for mobility and stationary energy storage, and Hive Electric, which aims to democratize the most sustainable, efficient and safest batteries.

The investment community also has taken strong notice of EV startups. Over this past year, there has been an abundance of new startups and investors looking to fund ventures that focus on EVs and sustainability to promote this new surge in the market.

Powerdot, one of Europe’s EV charging point operators, recently secured €100 million ($108.5 million) in funding and France-based Electra, an EV charging startup, announced it has received €304 million ($330 million) to expand their charging stations across Europe. Also, Monta, a startup from Copenhagen, created an operating platform for the EV ecosystem and announced that they closed €80 million ($87 million) in investment just a few of months ago.

The EU especially has intensified its focus on EVs since the EU OEMs and Chinese OEMs have been at war, battling for the consumer EV market on EU soil. Transport & Environment published an analysis that stated that close to a fifth of all EVs purchased in Europe will be made in China. As a result, the EU is weighing the option of raising import tariffs for Chinese EVs and focusing more on investing in the EU battery value chain.

Richard de Cabrol.jpgThe EU is realizing that for EV commerce to flourish, battery efficiency and other necessities for the EV market may be a way to gain better footing and more market share in an industry already set to propel.

Richard de Cabrol (pictured, left) is general director of Grand Prix ACF AutoTech, a Paris-based accelerator that was established to promote innovation among entrepreneurs in the automotive industry, focusing on efficiency and sustainability.

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