European automakers are often tagged as innovators who pride themselves with the distinction of being at the cutting edge of technological breakthroughs and leading the industry's push for advancement. However, Europe's car makers are now faced with the possibility that manufacturers from other nations – like the U.S., Japan and South Korea – that are already knee-deep in the development of electric vehicles will steal the role of the industry's innovators.
Vauxhall/Opel boss Nick Reilly is thus sounding the warning that ignoring electric vehicles could put Europe behind the rest of the world's automakers in the near future. In an interview with Autocar at the Paris Motor Show, Reilly said, "I think Europe will lose its competitive edge unless we move fast to catch up on electric vehicle and battery technology." Reilly believes that European automakers must team up with governments to develop battery technology before Asia and the U.S. corner the market.
Could Europe already be too late? Korean, U.S. and Chinese battery makers are increasing production volumes daily and have established long-term deals with numerous automakers, which essentially seals off access to portions of the market. Cracking into this charged-up industry won't be an easy task.